Criminals are attacking Mozambican state institutions, and stealing the hard disks from computers, reports Tuesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias". Citing sources in the Criminal Investigation Police (PIC), the paper said the latest such raid was on the Ministry of Finance's Notarial Office, in central Maputo.

Thieves broke into the office in the small hours of Saturday morning, opened up ten computers and stole the hard disks. The purpose of such a theft is presumably to destroy or corrupt whatever is on those disks. The police assume that the motive of the theft was to hide embarrassing financial information.

Similar attacks have occurred previously against computers in the Ministry of State Administration, and in the Pedagogic University (which is the country's degree level teacher training college).

This is a new and fairly sophisticated form of crime. It is unlikely that such thefts can occur without the connivance of officials in the institutions concerned, who know which computers store sensitive information.

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique