Starving inmates die, given pauper burials

At least 15 prisoners have died of malnutrition and diarrhoea-related illnesses in the northern coastal district of Angoche, 3000km north of Maputo, this month.

At least 15 prisoners have died of malnutrition and diarrhoea-related illnesses in the northern coastal district of Angoche, 3000km north of Maputo, this month.

This is according to a report by state broadcaster Televisao de Mozambique (TvM) yesterday, citing prison head Manuel Masse.

The report came barely a week after the death of 12 prisoners in a neighbouring district.

Masse told the broadcaster: "I can confirm that 15 prisoners who were incarcerated at this prison died after they had been taken to Angoche hospital for treatment."

The broadcaster said 14 of the prisoners died in hospital while another one died on the way to hospital.

Joselina Calavete, head of the Angoche rural hospital, was quoted as saying the dead prisoners had signs of severe malnutrition when they were admitted to the hospital with severe diarrhoea.

She said when a team from her hospital went to the prison to investigate the cause of the disease it was discovered that the prisoners were drinking water from an untreated well and that the cells were overcrowded.

Masse confirmed to TvM that there was a problem in securing food for the prisoners, whose diet consisted only of beans.

TvM further reported that the 15 prisoners were buried without the participation of their families.

Omar Ali, an official from Angoche municipality, was quoted by the broadcaster as saying the prisoners were given pauper burials because "no one came to claim their bodies". - Sapa

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