Television journalist Yasin Limu at Kamuzu Stadium, Blantyre, before the April 7 Super League of Malawi match, when Wanderers FC supporters hit him in the face with his tripod.
Television journalist Yasin Limu at Kamuzu Stadium, Blantyre, ahead of a Super League of Malawi match on April 7 when Wanderers FC supporters hit him in the face with his tripod. (Photo: Henry Tembo)

Malawi football fans assault TV reporter Yasin Limu

Lusaka, April 17, 2024—The Committee to Protect Journalists on Wednesday called on Malawian authorities to credibly investigate the assault on TV reporter Yasin Limu by Mighty Mukuru Wanderers Football Club supporters and urged the sport’s governing bodies to take concrete steps to deter future attacks against journalists.

On April 7, three supporters of the club, also known as Wanderers FC, approached a designated area for the press during a Super League of Malawi match with Kamuzu Barracks FC in Kamuzu Stadium, in the southern city of Blantyre, and ordered Limu and other journalists to leave without explanation, according to the Malawi chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa press rights group and Limu, who spoke with CPJ.

Two of the three men shoved Limu, a reporter with the privately owned TV Islam Malawi, and hit him in the face with his own tripod, those sources said.

Limu told CPJ that his tripod and wristwatch were damaged in the attack and he sought treatment at a local hospital for a swollen face and painful injured jaw.

“Malawian sports journalists should not have to fear of violence from football fans whenever they cover a match,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Muthoki Mumo from Nairobi. “Authorities should investigate the assault of Yasin Limu, and the Football Association of Malawi and Confederation of African Football should act to ensure journalists can report on matches safely.”

Limu said he planned to file a police complaint when he returned to Blantyre from a journalism assignment.

He is the latest Malawian journalist to be assaulted by football fans while on duty. In August,  Silver Strikers Football Club supporters assaulted Kasupe Radio reporter Smart Chalika as he photographed a scuffle between rival fans at Bingu National Stadium in the capital, Lilongwe.

On April 10, Wanderers FC board directors Chancy Gondwe and David Kanyenda apologized to Limu in a phone call and paid TV Islam Malawi 100,000 kwacha (US$58) to repair the tripod and wristwatch, the journalist told CPJ. 

Gondwe told CPJ via messaging app that the matter was now “water under the bridge.”

Kanyenda referred queries to Wanderers FC’s chief executive officer Panganeni Ndovi who told CPJ, via messaging app, that the club had apologized because it was responsible for the journalist’s safety.

“We told him [Limu] to report to the police because we don’t want this happening again during matches,” Ndovi said.

Gomezgani Zakazaka, the Football Association of Malawi’s communications and competitions manager, told CPJ by phone that it was “monitoring the case with interest” but the matter was being handled by the match organizer, the Super League of Malawi.

Super League of Malawi spokesperson Collins Nsunza referred CPJ’s query to chief executive officer Faith Mzungu-Vilakati, who did not respond to calls or text messages requesting comment.

CPJ’s phone calls and text messages to Mervin Nkunika, chairperson of Wanderers FC’s supporters association and email to Luxolo September, spokesperson for the Confederation of African Football, requesting comment did not receive any replies.

Police spokesperson Peter Kalaya told CPJ that action could only be taken if Limu filed a complaint.