Shots fired at Bissau journalist’s home one day after armed attack on his radio station
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is alarmed to learn that shots were fired at the home of one of Capital FM’s journalists just 24 hours after masked gunmen attacked this Bissau-based opposition radio station, injuring several journalists. Guinea-Bissau’s authorities must react at once in order to protect this station’s personnel, RSF says.
Bullet impacts can be seen on the outside of journalist Rui Landim’s home after individuals armed with Kalashnikovs opened fire on the facade and front door on the evening of 8 February. RSF has been told the attackers did not go inside but fired repeatedly and aggressively, and some of the bullets hit a wall near his grandson’s bedroom. Landim is the political reporter of a Capital FM programme called “Pontos Nos I’s” (Dotting the I’s).
Capital FM executive director Lassana Cassamá told RSF that gunmen in a car spent many long minutes outside the home of another of the radio station’s political reporters, Luiz Vaz Martins, on the same evening, without opening fire.
In the attack on Capital FM’s premises on 7 February, masked men armed with Kalashnikovs injured seven of the people inside and ransacked all of its equipment. One of the journalists, Maimuna Bari, is still in a serious condition in Bissau’s military hospital with spine and rib injuries.
In response to a question from RSF’s correspondent at a press conference on 9 February, President Umaro Sissoco Embaló said the interior ministry was “in charge of ensuring the safety of media professionals” and that an investigation was “under way to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.”
“This series of attacks on Capital FM and its journalists is very alarming,” said Sadibou Marong, the director of RSF’s West Africa bureau. “A week after the attempted coup d’état, we hold the authorities responsible for the fate of these journalists. The ‘isolated incident’ line put out by the police does not stand up. It is essential that the authorities react as quickly as possible to protect these journalists, who are – without any doubt – being directly targeted.”
Public order deputy police commissioner Salvador Soares described the 7 February attack as an “isolated incident,” said the assailants “just damaged broadcasting equipment” and insisted that there was “no reason to be alarmed.”
A popular radio station widely regarded as sympathetic to the opposition African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), Capital FM has often been threatened in the past. Gunmen stormed into the station and destroyed much of its equipment in a previous attack on 26 July 2020. They were never identified.
Guinea-Bissau is ranked 95th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index.