Fears are growing that a Mozambican journalist detained for two months in the country’s volatile north is in a “critical condition”, rights group Amnesty said on Tuesday.
Amade Abubacar, who works for the state-owned Comunitaria Nacedje de Macomia radio and television in northern Cabo Delgado province, has been detained since January 5 on charges of espionage.
Abubacar was seized by police at a bus stop while conducting interviews and taking photographs of people fleeing militant attacks.
Amnesty said in a statement it had received “credible reports” that he had been mistreated and denied medical attention.
“(They) must be investigated thoroughly and transparently and all those suspected of criminal responsibility brought to book,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s southern Africa regional director.
“Amade is languishing in jail for simply doing his job as a journalist, exposing the suffering wrought on civilians by deadly attacks in Cabo Delgado.”
Since October 2017, Islamist fighters have terrorised remote communities in the gas-rich, Muslim-majority Cabo Delgado region, killing around 200 people and forcing thousands from their homes.
Rights groups have accused security forces waging the fight against the jihadists of serious abuses, including summary executions and arbitrary detention.
On 25 January representatives of the Mozambican Bar Association visited Amade, along with his lawyer, during which time he told them “he had been subjected to different forms of ill-treatment by the military”.
“He has also complained of being denied food,” Amnesty added.