Seven injured, one seriously, in armed robbery against Bissau radio station
One of the journalists, Bar Maimunai, is still in serious condition in the military hospital in Bissau with injuries to her spine and ribs she suffered during the attack on the private pro-opposition radio station, which was carried out around 11 a.m. on February 7 by masked men wearing military uniforms and armed with Kalashnikovs.
The armed men opened fire, ransacked the premises and destroy all the material they find. The two others Capital FM journalists injured in the attack were Ansumane Sowhose arm was broken, and Bala Sambu, wounded in the foot. Technicians and other employees were also injured.
The attack came six days after a failed coup attempt in Guinea-Bissau on February 1 in which 11 people were killed. While all other radio stations continued to broadcast after the coup attempt, Capital FM – which is known to be highly critical of the government and sympathetic to the opposition – closed for six days as a security measure. The general manager of the station, Lassana Cassamatold RSF that he had just resumed broadcasting when the attack took place.
At a press conference hours after the attack, the police’s assistant commissioner for public order, Salvador Soares, described it as an “isolated incident”, said the attackers “just damaged equipment broadcast” and insisted that there was “no cause for alarm”.
“We condemn this exceptionally violent attack and deplore the conclusions of the security forces, which are hasty to say the least, and which seem far removed from what really happened. says Sadibou Marong, director of RSF’s West Africa bureau. “Several members of the radio station, including journalists, were targeted by men on military information less than a week after an attempted coup. The serious events that have occurred seem far from being an “isolated incident” and we call on the authorities to take them seriously. Those responsible must be identified and arrested.
A popular radio station widely seen as supportive of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), an opposition party, Capital FM has often been threatened in the past. Gunmen broke into the station and destroyed much of its equipment in a previous attack on July 26, 2020. An investigation was opened but the perpetrators were never identified.
Guinea-Bissau is ranked 95th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index.