Gunmen shoot at car carrying Mozambican journalists

Gunmen shot at a car carrying three Mozambican reporters on assignment in Mozambique’s western Manica province on August 12, 2016. One journalist was injured by shards of glass, according to a report from the country’s official news agency.

The reporters from the public broadcaster Mozambique Television (TVM) and Radio Mozambique (RM) were traveling in two vehicles to cover a visit by President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi to Manica province, Mozambique’s chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa said in a statement.

No one took responsibility for the attack, but press reports blamed the Mozambique Resistance Movement (Renamo). The group is active in the area where the attack took place. The cars were in a convoy with workers from the state electricity utility also carrying soldiers, according to one press report, but the journalists’ cars were clearly marked as belonging to media organizations, Fernando Gonçalves, the chairman of MISA-Mozambique told the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“If a car came by in the middle of military columns, I’m really sorry,” Savana newspaper quoted Renamo leader Alfonso Dhaklama as saying. “But Renamo has not made any operation against journalists.”

CPJ has recorded two murders of journalists in Mozambique since 1992, when the organization began keeping records, but has only been able to confirm one of the deaths as directly related to the journalist’s work.

Carlos Cardoso, editor of the daily newsletter Metical was gunned down outside his office in Maputo on November 22, 2000, while investigating the 1996 embezzlement of US$14 million from the state-controlled Commercial Bank of Mozambique (BCM). In 2003, six men were convicted for the murder, according to a CPJ alert. The convictions were upheld by that country’s Supreme Court in 2007.

Paulo Machava the publisher and founder of the news website Diario de Noticias was shot dead while jogging in Maputo on August 28, 2015, CPJ reported at the time. CPJ has not been able to establish whether the murder was directly related to his work.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This text has been updated to include remarks from Renamo’s leader.