Mozambican reporter jailed over 3 months freed: watchdog

Wednesday April 24 2019

 

Maputo. Journalist Amade Abubacar in Mozambique was released on Tuesday after 108 days in prison following his arrest in the country's north where he covered violence linked to an Islamist insurgency, a press watchdog said.

Abubacar, who works for the state-owned Comunitaria Nacedje de Macomia radio and television in the volatile northern Cabo Delgado province, had been held since January 5 on espionage charges.

He was seized by police at a bus stop while conducting interviews and taking photographs of people fleeing militant attacks.

His colleague Germano Adriano was also subsequently detained and they were initially both accused of using computers to breach state secrecy laws.

But the pair were subsequently charged on April 16 with the lesser crime of "spreading dissenting messages" against the military by posting about attacks on villages in Macomia district, the Media Institute for Southern Africa press watchdog said Tuesday.

No date has been set for Adriano, who was also released on Tuesday, and Abubacar to stand trial.

Since October 2017, Islamist fighters have terrorised remote communities in the gas-rich, Muslim-majority Cabo Delgado region -- including Macomia district -- killing around 200 people and forcing thousands from their homes.

Around 40 human rights organisations last month called for Abubacar's release.

Rights groups have accused security forces waging the fight against jihadists of serious abuses, including summary executions and arbitrary detention. (AFP)