The editor of a newspaper in Lesotho is fighting for his life after being shot and critically injured at his home in the capital, Maseru, on 9 July.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the attempted assassination of Lesotho Times Editor, Lloyd Mutungamiri, who was shot at close range in the arm and jaw as he parked his car after returning from work last Saturday.
The shooting comes after the government of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, had accused the paper of being too critical of it.
Prior to the shooting, Mutungamiri and another journalist from the Lesotho Times, Keiso Mohloboli, had been interrogated by security officers and forced to reveal their sources following the publication of a story which suggested that the Lesotho government was discussing a proposal for a R40-million pay-out for the powerful commander of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Tlali Kennedy Kamoli.
IFJ President Philippe Leruth said: “The shooting of journalists anywhere to silence them is a grave crime against humanity. The brutal shooting of Mutungamiri is a heinous act that is orchestrated by cowards with the sole intention of intimidating and silencing journalists and the media in general from reporting the truth.”
“Such inhumane acts are an affront to democracy and good governance and hence should be condemned in the strongest terms possible wherever it raises its ugly head. The perpetrators of this heinous crime must be brought to justice,” added Leruth.
Southern Africa Journalists Association President, Michael Chideme, said that journalists in the region are outraged and saddened by this dastardly act. He called on the authorities in Lesotho to speedily investigate this grim crime and punish the culprits accordingly.
The IFJ has backed widespread calls by the SAJA and civil society organisations on the Government of Lesotho to conduct an independent investigation into the shooting and to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the perpetrators are apprehended and tried in a competent court of law.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries