Maputo — The Mozambican police on Wednesday denied that the defence and security forces had anything to do with the abduction and possible murder of journalist Ibraimo Mbaruco in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
Mbaruco worked for the community radio station in the town of Palma. The last time his colleagues saw him was when he left the radio station on his motor-bike, heading for his home, at about 18.00 on 7 April.
He never made it home. He sent a mobile phone text message to one of his colleagues, saying that he was "surrounded by soldiers". He has not been seen or heard from since.
Wednesday's issue of the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique" carried a story, citing an unnamed member of the Mozambican armed forces, who claimed that Mbaruco had been shot dead by the military because he had allegedly been cooperating with the islamist insurgents who have been terrorising parts of Cabo Delgado since October 2017.
At a Maputo press conference on Wednesday, the spokesperson for the General Command of the Mozambican police, Orlando Mudumane, denied the "Carta de Mocambique" story. He claimed that the defence and security forces "are carrying out investigations in order to ascertain the whereabouts of Ibraimo Mbaruco", and asked anyone with relevant information to come forward and speak to the police.
Mudumane admitted that there were "sporadic" excesses by some policemen who violated citizens' rights when they were supposed to be enforcing the state of emergency. Among these cases there stood out the beating to death of 44 year old Abdul Razak in Beira on Sunday.
Mudumane said the two policemen involved in the beating have been arrested, and will face disciplinary and criminal proceedings. He expected that the disciplinary case would result in the expulsion of the two men from the police force.
As for compensating the family of Abdul Razak, Mudumane said the police are in contact with the bereaved family and will give them "the necessary support".
Mudumane said the police General Command strongly condemns the criminal behaviour of those police agents who flagrantly disrespect the law and police ethics, and deeply regrets the death of citizens at the hands of these agents.