Activist journalist kidnapped, beaten in Mozambique


A Mozambican journalist was kidnapped from the streets of the capital Maputo and brutally beaten hours after criticising President Filipe Nyusi's son on TV, his wife told AFP on Thursday.

Ericino de Salema was snatched in broad daylight on Tuesday, savagely beaten and dumped two hours later with serious injuries, she said.

"He had been tortured and abandoned," his wife Neusa Ribeiro said, adding that doctors considered his condition serious.

The incident happened against a backdrop of tense negotiations between the government and former rebels, a spate of jihadist-inspired violence in the north, and preparations for local elections due later this year.

De Salema two weeks earlier had accused the president's son, Florindo Nyusi, of illegal road racing and driving cars without registration plates in "a clear abuse of the law and law enforcement agents".

His intervention on the "Points of View" show broadcast by the privately-owned STV channel sparked fury on social media from Nyusi supporters.

Ribeiro said strangers had threatened him and accused him of "going too far".

He was dumped in a remote area 30km from where he had been kidnapped, she said.

Spotted by local residents, he was taken to a nearby hospital where he remains.

"The first medical reports indicate that he sustained multiple fractures and is waiting for surgery on two legs and his left arm," said Ribeiro.

Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario, who visited De Salema in hospital on Thursday, vowed "to do everything to find those involved in this crime".

Police said the attack was a mystery. There have not been any arrests.

It is the second time that a contributor to the popular TV debate programme has been kidnapped and assaulted.

Politics professor Jaime Macuane was snatched in 2016 shortly after appearing on air.

"It's an unfortunate coincidence that two commentators from the same program were abducted and tortured," Macuane said.

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"They want to silence the freedom of expression. Is this country free? This is oppression, it is not freedom."

De Salema took his place on the show following Macuane's ordeal.

A group of journalists and editors issued an unusually harsh statement criticising authorities in the wake of the attack on De Salema.

"We are not content with the statements of condemnation of this macabre act against our colleague Ericino de Salema," they said.

"(This) is not an isolated act... It has been common, especially in the last three years," said the group which demanded a meeting with Nyusi to demand more protection for journalists.

The US and British embassies, rights group Amnesty International and the Catholic church have called for a thorough investigation and expressed solidarity with De Salema. A march is planned in the capital to protest the attack.

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