The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Tanzanian authorities to launch a thorough investigation into the brutal assault of two veteran journalists while they were working in their newsroom.
Saed Kubenea, owner and managing editor of the Kiswahili weekly Mwana Halisi, and Ndimara Tegambwage, a consultant editor with the paper, were assaulted by multiple attackers on Saturday, January 5, around 9 pm, in their newsroom in the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salam. Tegambwage’s mobile phone was the only item stolen. According to local newspapers two suspects have been arrested.
“We are calling on the Tanzanian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation to unmask all those responsible for this attack and bring them to justice,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “We will not accept an investigation that catches those who carried out the assault but not the masterminds behind it.”
At least three men armed with machetes, knives and iron bars attacked Kubenea and Tegambwage and sprayed a chemical believed to be acid on Kubenea’s face. Geoffrey Kambenga, Secretary General of the Tanzanian Union of Journalists, told IFJ that Kubenea’s eyes are seriously affected and he would be operated on in few days in India where he was flown on Monday.
“Tegambwage is recovering well at home. He was discharged from the hospital on Sunday after receiving stitches on his head which was cut by machetes,” Kambenga added.
According to local journalists, Kubenea was the victim of an arson attack on his car and for a year has been receiving regular death threats on his mobile phone where the caller has tried to scare him into ending his investigative reports into public funds mismanagement. Last September Mwana Halisi was the first newspaper to publish the “list of shame (Looters of Tanzania)” which named several ruling party members accused of stealing public funds.
For further information contact the IFJ: +221 33 842 01 43
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries