19 July 1996

Alert

Police raid home of "The Post" reporter Brian Malama; "The Post" reporter Samson Mujuda also subject to harassment




On 11 July 1996, six armed police officers raided and searched
the house of "The Post" newspaper reporter Brian Malama in the
town of Kitwe. Managing editor Bright Mwape said that "heavily
armed police raided and searched Malama's house at gun point but
without a search warrant and [they] refused to identify
themselves." Mwape said that all but one were plainclothes
officers. Mwape added that "[p]olice have not as yet disclosed
what they expected to find at the house. Malama has told us that
police did not find or take anything away after the search."
However, Mwape said that the police raid on the reporter's house
"was part of the on-going victimisation of `The Post' and its
journalists."




Mwape speculates that the search of Malama's home is linked to
police allegations that "`The Post' staff were a member [sic] of
the Black Mamba squad." (An group believed to have been
responsible for a recent spate of bomb blasts in Zambia.) He said
that although Malama has occasionally written on political
issues, he "is basically a sports reporter [and] we suspect that
police went for him because we don't have an office in Kitwe
where they could go and make a search."
However, the Home Affairs Ministry, which is responsible for the
Zambian police force, has denied knowledge of the incident.
Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Peter Muunga said that his
office was not aware of the search. "I don't have the slightest
idea about the incident. Nobody has come to brief me and my
office about the search," he claimed. "The Post", however,
reported that police in Kitwe "could neither deny nor confirm the
search."
Previously, on 31 May, Malama, together with colleague Elias
Kamanga, were detained for about two hours while covering
President Frederick Chiluba's official tour of an agricultural
show in Kitwe. The two reporters were physically dragged to a
police unit set up to guard President Chiluba. Malama's camera
was confiscated by the presidential security guards. As well, a
security guard reportedly accused the two of being linked to the
Black Mambas (see IFEX alert dated 18 June 1996).

Meanwhile, Samson Mujuda, a photojournalist with "The Post", was,
on 14 July, assaulted and had his camera broken by a plainclothes
Zambian police officer during the French holiday celebrations at
the residence of the French Ambassador. Mwape said that Mujuda
had taken a picture of a person who had "collapsed" on the floor,
assuming that the person was "drunk." Rather, the man was a
friend of the police officer who during the ensuing assault also
tore out the film from the camera. The French Embassy confirmed
the incident but said that the man had in fact suffered "a sudden
diabetes attack."
In another incident, on 15 July, Magistrate Francis Nsokolo
reportedly confiscated Mujuda's two cameras when he attempted to
take Nsokolo's picture outside the High Court. The two cameras
were later retrieved by lawyers from "The Post".





Source

Media Institute of Southern Africa
21 Johann Albrecht Street
Private Bag 13386
Windhoek
Namibia
misaalerts (@) gmail.com
Fax:+264 61 248016
Zambia
 
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