File picture: Pexels

Maputo - Five people including the ex-head of Mozambique's intelligence services and the chairman of three firms linked to the country's $2 billion debt scandal have been arrested in Mozambique, a police source said on Friday.

The source said those arrested also included the ex-private secretary to former president Armando Guebuza, and that some possessions, including luxury cars, had also been seized.

"Acting on the order of the Attorney General's Office... we made the arrests of five people," the police source told Reuters by phone, without giving the reason for the arrests. "I cannot give you further details," he said.

Antonio Carlos do Rosario, former director of Mozambique's intelligence unit, was arrested alongside Teofilo Nhangumele, the chairman of state-run Proindicus, Ematum and Mozambique Asset Management, the police source said.

Reuters was not able to immediately contact the representatives of the individuals named by the source as being arrested.

The three state-run companies are at the centre of a $2 billion fraudulent loan scandal that has already led to arrests in Britain, South Africa and United States.

The loans were guaranteed by the Mozambican government, but it did not disclose them, prompting the International Monetary Fund and other donors to cut off support.

That triggered a currency collapse and debt crisis that Mozambique is still struggling to recover from. 

Reuters