New York, January 11, 2010—The Committee to Protect
Journalists called today on Angolan authorities to ensure the safety of sports
journalists covering the African Nations Cup following the death of a Togolese
sports journalist on Friday. Stanislas Ocloo was gunned down in the
attack on Togo’s
national soccer team’s bus in the northwestern Angolan enclave of Cabinda.
Also killed was assistant coach Hamelet Abulo, according to Angola's
official ANGOP news agency. As many as three people were killed and nine
injured in the strike, CNN reported today.
Ocloo, 35, a contributor to sports
programs on national broadcaster Télévision Togolaise (TVT) and the communications
chief of the Togolese soccer association, died on Saturday morning local
time, hours before the kick-off of the African
Nations Cup he was going to cover, according to news reports. TVT presenter
Blaise Amedodji, who appeared with Ocloo on a weekly sports program called “Club
of Saturday” since 2007, told CPJ the journalist had planned to carry out
interviews with African soccer stars for the station.
Angolan authorities announced today the arrests of two suspects
in connection with the attack, which was claimed by the separatist
Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda, according to news reports. There
has been a low-level insurgency for regional independence for decades.
“We mourn the loss of Stanislas Ocloo, a sports journalist
who fell victim to the political violence in Cabinda,”
said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes.
“Angolan authorities must thoroughly investigate the circumstances and bring to
justice the perpetrators of this heinous incident and ensure the safety of journalists
covering the tournament.”
According to local journalists, hooded gunmen opened fire on
the team bus some 15 minutes after it crossed into Cabinda from neighboring Republic of Congo. Togo pulled out of the tournament
and a national three-day mourning period began today. The Union of Independent
Journalists of Togo called the incident “savage aggression” and called on
Angolan authorities to assume responsibility for the security lapse.
Some of Ocloo’s
colleagues who spoke to CPJ today from the capital of Togo, Lomé,
called his death a great loss. “He was very, very intelligent, a man of struggle and
commitment,” said Amedodji. Another local journalist, Dimas
Dzikodo, who shared media duties with Ocloo at the soccer federation, told CPJ
he remembers the journalist as “a very dedicated young man” who mastered
analyses of national, African, and international sports.
Ocloo began his journalism career in 1995 as a consultant with a youth program
on private station Tropic FM, then reported with Avenir FM before joining Togo’s
first sports station, Sport FM, in 2001, according to Amedodji. Ocloo had
become engaged last month, according to local journalists.