Media barred from insurgent region in Mozambique

2019-02-21 17:32
Jail. (iStock)

Jail. (iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Journalists covering conflict involving an armed Islamist group in in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, have been detained.

Amade Abubacar, a journalist who was interviewing villagers displaced by insurgents, was held by the military and prohibited from having outside contact for 13 days last month. Abubacar was later released and handed over for civilian prosecution.

"The Mozambican government's actions to silence the media in Cabo Delgado obstruct public scrutiny of the military operations and alleged abuses," Southern Africa director at Human Rights Watch Dewa Mavhinga said.

Abubacar was arrested on January 5 and held at a military barracks in Mueda District where soldiers allegedly beat him and treated him badly. He was also denied access to a lawyer or family members while in captivity.

He was later charged with "violation of state secrets" and "public instigation to crime".

Under Mozambican law, however, military personnel are forbidden from holding captives in military barracks and detainees need to be handed over to the police immediately. The police either arrest and charge, or release the suspects within a 48-hour period.

More captive cases

- An editor in Nampula (who asked not to be identified for security purposes), was detained twice since September last year. He was held at military checkpoints for several hours and was threatened to be killed if he was found to be lying about why he was there.

- A Zimbabwean journalist was stopped by army soldiers on June 30, 2018 in Temba City, along with his driver and interpreter while interviewing locals in public. The soldiers took him to the nearest police station where he was kept while he was denied any outside contact. He was later released without being charged.

- In June 2018, a team from BBC Africa was denied accreditation to work in Cabo Delgado. 

- On July 10, 2018, three members from an international news agency was detained for a few hours in the Mocímboa da Praia district. On arrival at the police station, their memory cards were removed and photos were deleted from their cameras.

- Two Cabo Delgado journalists were allegedly warned against reporting on any events in certain villages unless "there is a visit by government officials". One of the journalists was threatened by a member of the police investigation unit. The journalist said: "A member of the police investigation unit told me that I should stop acting like a brave man if I loved my life and my family."

- On December 17, a journalist, an academic and a driver were detained in Mocímboa da Praia after interviewing residents of Chitolo village. The academic said 15 army soldiers took them to makeshift barracks where about 80 soldiers were camped at Quelimane Primary School even though the school was still functioning. They were questioned for several hours and their cameras and cellphones were searched and confiscated.

"By obstructing the media in Cabo Delgado, the government is trying to prevent Mozambicans from learning what both sides to the conflict are doing," said Mavhinga.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    mozambique  |  southern africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.