Renamo beats up television journalists

Members of Mozambique’s main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, on Wednesday beat up two journalists of Mozambican Television (TVM) in the northern city of Nampula.

Reporter Vicente Martins and cameraman Horacio Herminio were attacked at the Renamo Nampula offices where they had gone to report on the inhuman conditions under which demobilized Renamo soldiers are living. About 300 of the former fighters are camped at the offices, with no money even for the bus fares back to their homes in other parts of the province.

The Renamo leadership had mobilized these men from across Nampula in preparation for the wave of anti-government demonstrations which Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama had promised. But the demonstrations have been indefinitely postponed, and the demobilized men find themselves stranded in the city, awaiting further instructions from their leaders.

Martins and Herminio went to the office to interview the local Renamo spokesperson about the situation of the hundreds of former fighters. They also intended to confront him with complaints of the local residents who have found Renamo members smoking marijuana in their back yards.

But the two journalists never got the chance to pose their questions. Instead, they were seized and beaten and the Renamo members confiscated their equipment. They were bruised and cut, and both were later treated in a Nampula hospital.

The National Journalists’ Union (SNJ) strongly condemned the Renamo behavior, noting that this is just the latest in a string of attacks by Renamo members and leaders against journalists. The SNJ pointed out that there was nothing abnormal or unexpected about the TVM visit to the Renamo office – they were keeping an appointment with the Renamo spokesperson which they had arranged beforehand.

“We challenge the Renamo leadership to prove that it has nothing to do with acts of this sort, and to take action against those responsible”, urged the SNJ general secretary, Eduardo Constantino.

Under the Mozambican press law, TVM has not only the right, but also the duty to sue Renamo for the assault against its journalists.

Post published in: Africa News

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