Abducted and assaulted for speaking out

Mozambican journalist “silenced” with violence

A veteran Mozambican journalist, critical of President Filipe Nyusi and his government, was abducted and assaulted earlier this year. On 29 March journalist and lawyer Ericino de Salema was kidnapped in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, beaten and left unconscious. Salema was critical of the president’s alleged corruption.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called for Mozambican authorities to launch a “credible investigation” into the abduction and assault of Ericino de Salema and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“Three unidentified gunmen abducted Salema [and] beat him with their AK-47 assault rifles, and left him unconscious along the Maputo Ring Road,” according to a press release from CPJ.

Neusa Ribeiro, his wife, told CPJ that her husband, a frequent government critic, received an anonymous call on March 26 saying that he would be “silenced” for being so outspoken.

“We are deeply disturbed that a respected journalist like Ericino de Salema is targeted in this way in broad daylight in an apparent attempt to silence his critical commentary,” said CPJ Africa coordinator Angela Quintal. “We urge authorities to ensure that this brazen attack is credibly investigated and that his attackers face the full might of the law.”

According to the spokesperson for the Maputo City Police Command, Orlando Mudumane, the police have launched an operation to arrest the abductors.

Salema is a regular commentator on the weekly current affairs television show “Ponte de Vista” (Point of View), which airs on the private broadcaster STV, according to an IOL news report. Previously he worked for the independent weekly Savana, and later worked for other privately-owned weeklies.

During a broadcast on 25 March, Salema criticized the new government’s attempt to restructure Mozambique’s US$2 billion debt accrued under the previous administration, according to the CPJ press release. In the same broadcast, Salema also called for the resignation of Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane.

In May 2016, Selma’s predecessor as a commentator on “Ponte de Vista,” academic Jaime Macuane, was abducted outside of his home, driven to a stretch of the Ring Road, shot in both legs, and then left by the roadside, according to the Mozambican state news agency (AIM) late last month.

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