Mozambique: Observer Shot Dead Ahead of Mozambique Polls

7 October 2019

Cape Town — A leading civil society election observer has been assassinated in Mozambique's Gaza province, barely a week before the polls, Club of Mozambique reports.

According to the report, Anastancio Matavel, an observer for Sala da Paz, a Mozambican Election Observation platform, was shot dead just after he finished training other national observers.

His killers are said to have followed Matavel'a car, fired at him ten times before they were involved in a road accident in which two of them were said to have died, while one was arrested by the police.

An escalating insurgency, attacks on political campaigners and a terrified population have set a worrying scene for Mozambique's election on October 15.

Despite a recent peace deal, human rights experts say they suspect the accord will not last.

"Killing of a leading election observer this morning, 8 days to the voting day, is the latest of many incidents since the start of the campaign. Silence of the Electoral Commission and the inability of the police to stop it, are fueling the violence and impunity, Human Rights Watch researcher Zenaida Machado said on Twitter.

The polls are seen as a milestone, as they take place after the death of longtime opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama and in the wake of an accord with his party, the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), meant to put the country on the path of a lasting peace.

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