Maputo — The director of the electronic newssheet “Diario de Zambezia”, published in the central Mozambican city of Quelimane, Antonio Zefanias, has received death threats via the “Whatsapp” messaging service, reports Wednesday's issue of the independent paper”Mediafax”.
On Sunday Zefanias received a Whatsapp message from a group of people who said they had been hired to kill him.
They did not reveal who had hired them, but suggested that, if he was prepared to pay them more, they would spare his life. They said “we don't want to dirty our hands”, and hence they were warning him, and wanted to meet with him.
Zefanias took the precaution of taping the conversation. He knows the number of the mobile phone used to make the threat (258 845399372), and from this it should be possible to trace who owns the phone, since it is now a legal requirement for all users of mobile phones to register their SIM cards.
The Mozambican chapter of the regional press freedom body MISA (Media Institute of Southern Africa) issued a statement on Tuesday, expressing its concern and demanding that the authorities take action.
MISA said such threats should never be tolerated. It asked the government and the bodies of the administration of justice “to take seriously not only this threat, but all violations or attempted violation of the freedoms of the press and of expression”.
It called on the Attorney-General's Office, in particular to intervene and to identify those who were threatening to murder Zefanias.