Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Mozambique: Police officers threaten to kill journalist

Source: IFEX and Media Institute of Southern Africa

Three police officers have threatened to kill journalist Victor Muvale, a correspondent in the southern city of Xai-Xai for the Beira daily newspaper "Diario de Mocambique".

The three officers were infuriated with Muvale because he wrote an article, published on 3 January 2011, about them, reporting that they had beaten a young man, Narciso Nuvunga, whom they caught for not carrying his identity card.

According to a report in "Diario de Mocambique", the death threats came on the night of 22 February 2011 when the three men, whose names the newspaper has not yet been able to ascertain, challenged Muvale and warned him, saying, "We know where you live and where you work."

They complained that Muvale's report had led to disciplinary and criminal proceedings against them, and that they are now likely to be expelled from the police force.

"Good evening Mr. journalist, do you remember me?", one of them asked via a telephone call. "Certainly you don't, but we were together on the afternoon of 2 January 2011, when we intercepted a citizen who did not have an identity card. Our commanders read your article and there is now a criminal case against us," he said. "Beware of what will happen to you when we are expelled from the force."

Muvale reported the threats to the Gaza provincial police command. The provincial commander, Florinda de Nascimento, expressed regret at the police officers' behavior, saying, "We condemn this kind of behavior by our agents. This is incompatible with the police force."

"What I can tell you is that we have identified the three men, who are all from the Xai-Xai first precinct. At any moment we shall be able to take appropriate measures against them so that behavior of this sort does not happen again," she added.