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Maputo -

A judge who has been investigating a string of recent kidnappings in Mozambique was shot dead in the capital on Thursday, police said.

Dinis Silica was killed in his car in the city centre by gunmen who were driving behind him, said police spokesman Arnaldo Chefo.

The attack occurred at around 8am (06h00 GMT) at a busy city centre intersection.

Police at the scene found $60 000 and over a million meticais (about $30 000) in the judge's car.

“It is strange that the judge had in his possession such a large amount of money,” the spokesman of the Mozambican police said.

No arrests have been made.

Mozambique has in recent years been hit by kidnapping gangs targeting wealthy businessmen, and increasingly children, as well as foreign nationals.

Scores of people, including policemen, have been convicted and jailed in recent months for kidnappings. - Sapa-AFP