At least nine Mozambican journalists from the Sao Francisco de Assis Community Radio and their families fled into the bush 10 days ago and are living in deplorable conditions following an insurgent attack on the district of Muidumbe in the Cabo Delgado province.
According to a statement from the National Forum of Community Radio Stations (FORCOM), on October 31, insurgents occupied the Parish Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, where the station is located, forcing the journalists and their families to flee into the bushes.
The journalists are reportedly trying to find their way to nearby districts, where the situation is relatively calmer.
Journalists Danial Nantuma and Beatriz Joao are said to be walking towards Mudeda, while Costa Macelino and Hilario Tomas are heading for the administrative post of Nairoto, Montepuez District.
The status of the other journalists was not immediately clear, as they are said to be incommunicado.
Shortly after the raid on the church, the journalists sent out distress calls, saying killings in the region had escalated, while homes were also being burnt.
Following the raid on the church, the insurgents also destroyed the radio station’s equipment. Some of the equipment was, however, rescued and has been transported to the city of Pemba.
MISA Zimbabwe position
The situation in Mozambique is quite concerning, with reports of attacks on journalists becoming more prevalent.
The government must do everything in its power to ensure that the distressed journalists and their families are accounted for and that a safe passage is created for them.
MISA Zimbabwe Regional Solidarity Statement