Government says journalist’s murder “not politically motivated”

New York, October 16, 2001—In response to a CPJ letter of inquiry sent to Angolan president Eduardo dos Santos on July 10, Angola’s attorney general, Domingos Culolo, wrote that preliminary findings of a police investigation into the fatal shooting of radio journalist Alegria Gustavo revealed that the murder was not politically motivated.

On July 8, Gustavo, a journalist for the Huambo branch of Rádio Nacional de Angola (RNA), was shot dead by provincial vice administrator Matias Kassoma after leaving a party, according to independent sources in the capital, Luanda.

The journalist’s friends, who were with him at the time, reportedly attacked Kassoma in reprisal for the murder and left him in critical condition.

After recovering in Huambo’s Central Hospital, Kassoma is now being held at the local central prison pending trial for homicide, Cululo said.

The attorney general reported that after analyzing eyewitness accounts and other testimonies by friends of the victim, police do not believe the journalist was killed for his work.

“Our research into this case tends to confirm the findings of the preliminary police investigation,” said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper. “However, we urge the Angolan authorities to continue a thorough inquiry into Gustavo’s murder and to consider all possible motives.”