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Last Updated: Monday, 10 May, 2004, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Cardoso killer escapes jail again
Carlos Cardoso
Anibalzinho was serving time for the murder of journalist Carlos Cardoso (pictured)
The convicted murderer of Mozambique's top investigative journalist, Carlos Cardoso, has again escaped from jail.

Anibal Antonio dos Santos - better known as Anibalzinho - disappeared from the country's maximum security prison on Sunday night, police said.

Both the interior minister and general police command have appealed for citizens to report any sightings.

Anibalzinho escaped while awaiting trial in September 2002, and was only caught a year later in South Africa.

He was convicted in absentia of leading the death squad that assassinated Cardoso in November 2000 - described as Mozambique's worst ever murder.

He was serving a 28-year term in jail in the capital, Maputo. Five co-defendants were also convicted and are serving lengthy sentences.

Cardoso was investigating the 1996 disappearance of $14m from a commercial bank when he was killed.

Circumstances 'unknown'

"On 9 May 2004 Anibal dos Santos Junior disappeared from his cell," said Interior Ministry spokesman Nathaniel Macamo in a statement, according to Reuters news agency.

"We have informed the police in southern Africa and are appealing to all citizens to report anything that might help in the search of the fugitive," the statement said.

The ministry said the circumstances of Anibalzinho's escape were not known.

However, a daily independent newssheet in Maputo, Mediafax, cited an anonymous prison source as saying that Anibalzinho did not escape but was actually taken out of the jail by accomplices.

The general police command, which also appealed for public help in recapturing Anibalzinho, said it had alerted authorities of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region to help recapture the criminal.

Mass break-out

Anibalzinho's escape came as a court prepared to announce the verdict in the trial of 15 people accused of involvement in the 1996 bank fraud.

It also occurred just a few days after more than 80 inmates escaped from the Civil Prison in Xai-Xai, the capital of the southern Mozambican province of Gaza.

The jail's director, Jorge Micross, said that at least 25 of the escapees had been recaptured by Friday.

Cardoso trio in bank fraud trial
12 Dec 03  |  Africa
Mozambique's judges 'corrupt'
07 Mar 02  |  Africa


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