Offices of Mozambican newspaper burned in arson attack

MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) —

The premises of two of Mozambique’s leading independent newspapers, the weekly Canal de Mozambique and the daily CanalMoz, were attacked with petrol bombs and burned, the newspapers’ editor Matias Guente confirmed Monday.

The office and its equipment were thoroughly burned in the fire Sunday night and a container of gasoline fuel used in the attack was found at the site, Guente told the Zitamar news agency. The papers are privately owned and often critical of the government.

The incident has been reported to the police, said Guente.

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Several prominent civil rights campaigners have condemned the attack. “This is barbaric … Freedom of expression is under attack,” Adriano Nuvunga of the Center for Democracy and Development wrote on Twitter.

The fire-bombing could be linked to a report Canal printed days earlier about bribery and the efforts of prominent Mozambicans to win control of part of the fuel retail business worth millions of dollars, said the Center for Democracy in a statement.

Erik Charas, founder of the newspaper A Verdade, tweeted that the attack was “a premeditated criminal act,” as the door to the building had been sabotaged earlier in the day.

Mediacoop, the publisher of Savana and Mediafax, has invited Canal to use its premises and facilities to ensure it can continue publishing uninterrupted.

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