The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today condemned the attacks on the reporters Luciano da Conceicao and Leonardo Gimo, which took place on the night of September 13.
Luciano da Conceicao, who works for the DW Africa news agency, was abducted from his house in Inhambane, Mozambique in an unidentified car. He was allegedly taken to a beach and beaten. His identity documents, mobile phones, and tape recorder were taken away.
That same night, Leonardo Gimo, a journalist for TV Sucesso, was attacked by a unidentified assailant in Nampula, who stole his camera.
When Gimo went to the police station to retrieve it the next morning, as his attackers instructed him to do over the phone, a police officer suggested he ‘avoid problems’ and threatened that ‘he would see what would happen if he did not’.
A member of the Media Institute of South Africa (MISA), told IPI that the camera taken away from Gimo contained pictures of people who were attending a meeting of the RENAMO (The Mozambican National Resistance), hosted by RENAMO president, Issufo Momade.
The MISA office bearer said that, according to Gimo, the men who attacked him belonged to the ruling political party, FRELIMO, who had infiltrated the RENAMO meeting. “Allegedly, these FRELIMO members suspected that they had been discovered by the journalist and took his camera to avoid the publication of the pictures. They left the camera at the police station the next day, where a police officer told Gimo that he ought to protect his life as he is very young,” he said.
“Politically motivated attacks on journalists and independent media organizations in Mozambique have escalated in the recent months”, IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. “Government should take immediate steps to ensure the safety of journalists and uphold media freedom.”
On August 23, the offices of Canal de Moçambique were burnt down by assailants, who forcibly entered the building. So far, the government has failed to bring the perpetrators to justice.
On April 7, a radio journalist Ibraimo Abú Mbaruco was detained by military officers in Mozambique’s restless northeastern Cabo Delgado province. He continues to remain in detention.