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Mozambican journalist António Zefanias, who works for the newspaper Diário da Zambézia, an independent news outlet based in Quelimane, received anonymous death threats on Sunday.
The Txopela newspaper learned of the episode on Monday morning (November 28) and, from the victim, how everything transpired.
According to Zefanias, the individuals who made the call told him that they had been charged with killing him by someone whose identity and reasons they declined to reveal.
The Txopela reporter heard a recording of the conversation with the would-be assassins clearly stating that they had been mandated by someone whose identity they omitted to reveal, but did not want to get their hands dirty [by killing him] and consequently preferred to negotiate a sum of money above what had already been promised them in order to spare his life.
In order to confront them, Zefanias offered to give them the money in person, but they refused, telling him that his life was in their hands and that everything depended on him giving them the money.
But Zefanias was defiant. “Tell whoever sent you that I have already died, so I am not afraid of death,” he said, adding that if he died, it would be in a just cause.
Zefanias went even further, swearing that he would not change his habits and that he would do everything as before, since “one who owes nothing, has nothing to fear”.
According to the journalist, the blackmailers sent Zefanias photographs of guns and people riddled with bullets, and his own picture taken from social networks as a way of telling him that they knew what he looked like.
Asked about what this meant for press freedom in a country that was supposed to be working to improve it, Zefanias said that the freedom of the press in Mozambique had at one and the same never been so bad but also never been better, and was thus in the middle, with a chance to improve much more, if it wasn’t for things like this happening all the time.
The people threatening the life of António Zefanias remain unknown along with the real motive to this persecution.Source: Jornal Txopela