The lawyer, journalist, and political commentator, Ericino de Salema, was kidnapped in central Maputo on Tuesday afternoon, and later found unconscious on the city’s ring road. He is now in Maputo Private Hospital, according to a report in O País.
An eyewitness to the kidnapping told Zitamar News that it happened as Salema was leaving the national journalists’ union, the Sindicato Nacional de Jornalistas, after having eaten lunch at the restaurant there.
Salema had put his laptop in the boot of his car and was about to get into the passenger side, next to his driver, when he was grabbed and put in the kidnappers’ car. Reports said the car was a grey Toyota Camry with tinted windows.
According to the Facebook page of independent newspaper Canal de Moçambique, Salema was due to meet with the editor of the newspaper after his lunch on Tuesday, to discuss threats he had been receiving.
Salema is a regular commentator on popular political television show Pontos de Vista, on independent channel STV. Earlier this month he criticised Florindo Nyusi, the son of President Filipe Nyusi, for dangerously driving sports cars without number plates around Maputo while on the show.
De Salema has also expressed the opinion that decentralisation and power-sharing with opposition group Renamo is possible under Mozambique’s constitution – an opinion which is thought to have been behind the assassination of Franco-Mozambican jurist Gilles Cistac in March 2015.
Salema said in February that he believed the constitutional changes proposed by Nyusi and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, to allow opposition figures to become provincial governors, would not require a referendum.
Tuesday’s kidnapping holds echoes of the kidnapping of political commentator – and regular Pontos de Vista guest – Jose Jaime Macuane in May 2016. Macuane was also found on the Maputo ring road, having been shot in the legs. No one has faced charges for his abduction and shooting.
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