AIPC Calls for Support for Estacio Valoi After Military Detention.

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December 20, 2018

UPDATE: Estacio Valoi and team released, risks remain. AIPC starts campaign to help.

In the morning of Monday, December 17, 2018 we received a message from Estacio Valoi – our colleague journalist and AIPC exco member in Mozambique – that after a reporting trip to Chitolo, on the way back to Palma, a group of soldiers stopped them and took their cameras. We later learned that Estacio and team – consisting of US-based lecturer David Matsinhe and driver Girafe Saide Tufane – were arrested and detained by the Mozambique armed forces through the day and overnight. They were released in the evening of Tuesday, December 19 2018, but without their cameras and phones.

According to Estacio Valoi, the military who detained the three did not only confiscate their possessions but also searched laptop and phone content, forcing him and Matsinhe at gunpoint to give them passwords. They seemed to be particularly focused on Valoi, asking the other two ‘why they were hanging out with this guy.’ They were held at gunpoint at all times. Valoi was told “you will die and no one will know why.”

We can only assume that Estacio Valoi was targeted because of his research on the looting of the region’s many natural resources -timber, ivory and ruby among others-, in which he has been naming generals and government officials involved in the practice.

For this reason the AIPC is concerned that risks to his life, work and safety remain. Of particular concern is that, even when leaving the military base after their release, the team were again accosted by another military vehicle full of men and weapons, which was signaling them to stop from the roadside. They escaped by doggedly sticking close to another truck on the road.

We are grateful for the decisive support from CPJ, MISA and other partners, in securing the release of Mr. Valoi and all the help with security after his release. However, more support will be needed in the coming weeks to help Valoi finalize his current work in secure conditions.

The African Investigative Publishing Collective (AIPC) feels that it is important that Estacio Valoi be enabled to spend some time in a safe location to recover as much as he can of his research and finish his current projects without having to fear for his life and the lives of those who accompany him.

For this reason we call on our partners and partner organisations, colleagues and friends, to help us raise funds for a two-month working stay for Valoi in a nearby safe country.

Donations can be made to the AIPC’s African Investigative Story Fund, which is located at the ZAM Foundation in the Netherlands.

Details of the bank account are:

Stichting ZAM-Net
Tussen de Bogen 66
1013 JB Amsterdam Netherlands
ING Bank account NL65INGB0007453882 Reference: AISF/Estacio Valoi

Signed: African Investigative Publishing Collective

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