Maputo — Two journalists were attacked on Sunday night, one in the southern province of Inhambane, and one in the northern city of Nampula, according to the Mozambican chapter of the regional press freedom body, MISA (Media Institute of Southern Africa).
In Inhambane, Luciano da Conceicao, a correspondent for the German agency DW Africa, was abducted at around 19.00 at the entrance to his house in the town of Maxixe, by unidentified assailants in a car without any number plates. .
According to a MISA press release, issued on Wednesday, he was taken to a beach, where the kidnappers tied him up, beat him, and then left him bleeding on the sand. They parted with the warning “you’ll see”. They stole his identity documents, two mobile phones and a tape recorder.
In Nampula, Leonardo Gimo, a reporter on the private television station TV Sucesso, was attacked in the street by unidentified men who seized his camera.
He recovered his camera on Monday from a Nampula police station, where his attackers had left it. Gimo found that images had been deleted from the camera which showed supposed members of the ruling Frelimo Party who had infiltrated an event held by the main opposition party, Renamo, on Sunday night. Gimo had been covering that event.
At about 04.00 on Monday morning, the attackers rang Gimo up, and told him to go the police station to retrieve his camera, and that he should delete other images showing the supposed Frelimo members. They threatened that, if he disobeyed, “you’ll see what will happen”. They told him “you’re still young. Avoid problems”.
Instead of defending a man who had been attacked in the street, the police sided with the muggers. The policeman who spoke to Gimo on Monday, also advised him to delete the images of the Frelimo members, in order “to avoid problems”.
MISA-Mozambique expressed its “deep concern at the growing wave of harassment and aggression against journalists”. Worse still was the apparent impunity of those who attack journalists and the inability of the authorities to hold them criminally responsible for their acts.
MISA recalled that there is still no word on the whereabouts of Ibraimo Mbaruco, a news reader on the Palma Community Radio, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, who was kidnapped on 7 April. His last message, sent to one of his colleagues, was that he was “surrounded by soldiers”.
MISA urged the authorities, particularly the police and the Public Prosecutor’s Office, to commit themselves to a serious investigation of cases “which represent a real threat to the fundamental principles of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, which are enshrined in the Mozambican constitution”.