Angola: Journalist Murdered: Repression or urban violence?

On the 5th of September, journalist Albert Graves Chakussanga lost his life at the hands of strangers who in cold blood shot him down inside his house, in the neighbourhood of Viana in Luanda. According to Reporters without Borders, Chukassanga was killed from behind with a gun equipped with a silencer. The sister in law of the journalist was inside of the house, and did not notice anything. The motives for the killing have still not been made clear. The issue did not merely pass quietly in the Angolan blogosphere.
On the blog Pensar e Falar Angola [Thinking and Speaking Angola, pt] read the following:

Familiares e vizinhos de Chakussanga encontraram o jornalista caído, baleado nas costas, em um corredor de sua casa no distrito de Viana, em Luanda, na manhã de segunda-feira, de acordo com jornalistas locais. Ele era apresentador de um programa semanal de notícias com participação de ouvintes, em língua Umbundu, na emissora privada Rádio Despertar.

Family and neighbors of Chakussange found him fallen, shot in the back, in the hall of his house in the district of Viana, in Luana, on Monday morning, according to local newspapers. He was presenter of a weekly call-in news program in Umbundu language, on the private station Rádio Despertar [Wake-up Radio].

Two questions arise. Was Chakussanga the victim of the criminality that overshadows the city, or was he silenced for saying what he should not have? The answer remains up in the air. According to what has been told, in the search made in the house of the unfortunate journalist the only thing that was missing was a bottle of gas [for cooking]. The police have made no arrests and apparently, the death of Alberto Chakussanga or any other, is just one more journalist’s death to be investigated.

Also according to the blog,

Chakussanga possuía uma legião de ouvintes entre os Ovimbundu, o maior grupo étnico angolano originário do sul do país, base do antigo movimento rebelde UNITA, de acordo com jornalistas locais. A Rádio Despertar foi lançada em Dezembro de 2006 sob os termos do acordo de paz de 2002 entre o partido governante, MPLA e a UNITA.

Chakussanga had a legion of listeners in Ovimbundu, the major Angolan ethnic group originating in the south of the country, the support base of the old rebel movement UNITA, according to local newspapers. Rádio Despertar was launched in December 2006 under the terms of the 2002 peace accords between the ruling party MPLA and UNITA.

On the blog Universal [pt], reference is made to the case of the killing of journalist Ricardo de Melo. Even today, the case has yet to be resolved.

O assassinato de Alberto Graves Chakussanga é mais um caso em que forças ocultas decidem silenciar jornalistas incómodos. A 18 de Janeiro de 1995, o director da publicação independente, ImparcialFAX, Ricardo de Melo, foi assassinado em Luanda. As autoridades nunca apuraram as circunstâncias da morte de mais esta voz de uma comunicação social não comprometida com o regime no poder.

The murder of the journalist Alberto Graves Chakussanga is yet another case of hidden forces deciding to silence journalist who cause discomfort. On January 18, 1995, the director of the publication independent ImparcialFAX [ImpartialFAX], Ricardo de Melo, was murdered in Luanda. Authorities never found out the true circumstances of the death of this voice of a media source uncompromised by the regime in power.

The author of the blog Em Angola [pt] also writes about the unfortunate journalist, not forgetting to mention that the practice of journalism in Angola is still a risk.

Não tivesse sido morto, o jornalista Alberto Graves Chakussanga talvez nunca ficasse conhecido. Uma busca pelo nome de Chakussanga no Google gera 16 mil resultados. A prática do jornalismo em Angola é delicada, já que o país é governado por um mesmo partido há três décadas, e não há muita liberdade de imprensa.

If he had not been murdered, the journalist Alberto Graves Chakussanga might have never been well known. A search for the name Chakussanga generates 16,000 results. The practice of journalism in Angola is delicate, as the country is governed by the same party for three decades, and there is not much media freedom.

Numerous voices arose to condemn this death, like that of Reporters without Borders and also Mohamed Keita, coordinator of Defense of Journalists in Africa. In the declaration that he made, Keita appealed to Angolan authorities to consider the possible reasons for this murder, bearing in mind the journalistic work of the deceased. Joining these public condemnations is the voice of Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO. Bovoka regrets the death of the journalist as well as other journalists of other nationalities who lost their lives last month, revealing worry at the global wave of murders of journalists.

Update: One day after Global Voices published this article, on October 22 another Angolan journalist from “Radio Despertar” – Antonio Manuel “Jojó” da Silva –  was injured in stabbing, as Committee to Protect Journalists reports.

1 comment

  • Ks99

    The crimes committed by the regime have to be recorded and all those involved, not excluding the top office holder,  will be charged for murder of Angolans. Time has come for the Anglans to say “No’ to State Crimes. The government run criminality has become a tool for intimidation, reprisals for opposition supports who have shown the ruling pary MPLA disloyalty. Angolan Youth, you are the future of Angola

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