MISA Mozambique probes disappearance of radio journalist

MISA Mozambique probes disappearance of radio journalist

On 7 April 2020, Ibraimo Abu Mbaruco, a journalist and announcer for Palma Community Radio, was kidnapped in the village of Palma. Following this event, MISA Mozambique went to Palma town to find out the outline of his disappearance and his possible location. From the work done, it was found that:

1. Ibraimo Abu Mbaruco told his colleagues about his supposed arrest by the armed forces through a message in which he wrote that “I was surrounded with soldiers”.

2. The colleague who received the message replied: “Colleague, the station is about to open, where are you?” The message was never answered until today because Ibraimo Mbaruco was never communicable again.

3. The military and police officers took the journalist along with his motorcycle.

4. The journalist’s colleagues immediately informed the entire administrative structure of Palma District, namely the Administrator, the Permanent Secretary and District Commander of PRM. In other words, the entire administrative structure was immediately informed of what happened.

5. The journalist’s wife, in tears and despair, said she did not know if her husband would still be alive at these times, given the known aggressiveness of the military. According to her, the military is very aggressive and do whatever they want, without being punished, “they own Palma”.

6. A police officer, assigned to the District Police Command of the Republic of Mozambique, in Palma, confided to MISA Mozambique, in anonymity that “it was, in fact, the Armed Forces of Defence of Mozambique that took the journalist” and added that he “knew that he was taken from Palma to Mueda, where the Armed Forces have the interrogation room”.

7. The same source also said that colleagues of Ibraimo Abu Mbaruco “came to denounce what happened, but at the level of Palma Command, nothing was been done.

8. Until April 9, two days after his supposed arrest, the journalist’s phones were ringing, but nobody answered them. From April 9 until today they were no longer online.

9. Daniel Paulo Kazimoto, a delegate from the Institute of Social Communication, the entity that owns the Radio, said that he learned of the disappearance of his fellow journalist, allocated in Palma, but that until today, April 16, he did not know his whereabouts.

10. The journalist’s brother, Juma Abu Mbaruco, has already lodged a complaint this week at the Provincial Prosecutor.

11. Its function was merely journalistic, i.e. collecting, processing and publishing information related to population resettlement processes and their impacts in Palma.

After collecting this information, MISA-Mozambique will continue its efforts in the coming days to ensure the release of Ibraimo Abu Mbaruco.

Maputo, 16 April 2020

About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.