The Mozambican YouTuber Arsénio Amós was kidnapped on 5 February supposedly in retaliation for one of his videos. He was released the following day through the help of the police.
Known online as “Beleza em Pessoa”, Arsénio is recognized for humorously discussing various issues on his channel, with emphasis on social and political life in Mozambique. His channel “Arte & Vida” (Art and Life) has over 80 thousand subscribers, making it one of the country’s most popular YouTube channels.
In his recent videos, Arsénio commented on how Mozambican self-proclaimed “prophets” accumulate wealth by lying on their religious teachings. One of them focuses on the irregularities in the religious activity of Joe Williams, a Mozambican self-proclaimed prophet who today is suspected of being involved in the YouTuber’s kidnapping.
On 6 February, after the kidnapping of Arsenio, an audio attributed to Williams in which he threatened the young YouTuber was shared across social networks.
In another video published on 25 January, the YouTuber highlighted the fact that some of these ‘prophets’ did not like his channel’s approach and that he had received death threats.
In the following days, photos began to circulate showing Arsénio Amós in handcuffs at a Maputo police station. In the photos, Joe Williams could be seen talking to a police officer.
On 7 February, the country's largest newspaper, Notícias, reported that the Williams had been arrested for attempted kidnapping. The police said they were already following his movements, and had been alerted by undisclosed sources that he was with the captive YouTuber in a car.
At the time of publication, Williams was in police custody. He is the prime suspect for being behind the kidnapping, and will also be investigated for “illegal accumulation of wealth” and corruption.
This phenomenon of prophets is not exclusive to Mozambique as it's also being reported in several African countries. They promise cures for diseases and resurrection after death and are usually linked to churches whose origins are unknown.
The photos that circulated soon after the incident showed the YouTuber with his mouth shut with tape, to which Zarito Mutana, a Facebook user, reacted:
Muito triste que fizeram com o Blogueiro “Beleza em pessoa” recebi muitas fotos que nao dignifican [sic] a nossa polícia, aquilo parece se, ser um rapto que uma detenção, espero estar errado porém, acho que trata-se de uma vingança do Joe William contra o jovem.
Alguém deve parar esse mostro, alguém deve parar de chamar este mostro nas TV`s, alguém deve dizer basta ao Joe William…
Very sad what they did to the blogger “Beleza em pessoa”… I hope I’m wrong, but I think it is Joe William’s revenge against the young man.
Someone should stop this monster, someone should stop calling this monster on television, someone should just tell Joe Williams “enough”…
The politician and television commentator, Domingos Gundana, criticized the way the YouTuber was detained.
NÃO ALGEMEM A LIBERDADE DE EXPRESSÃO!
Bom dia amigos meus e amigos de meus amigos, espero que esteja tudo bem com cada um de vocês, onde estiverem.
Estou postando as imagens abaixo desta escrita com profunda indignação, apesar de não ter todos os detalhes dos contornos que levaram ao tal Profeta a sair da essência do ser homem de Deus para o mundano.
Mas porque as imagens já rodam o mundo, torna dificil, ficar indiferente. Já se previa que o jovem tal Profeta, disso não é, mas pelo menos se sabe que ele conhece a palavra de Deus, e se isso for verdade, então se esqueceu do dito, ” PERDOAI A QUEM VOS TEM OFENDIDO, PARA QUE O VOSSO PAI DO CEU, POSSA PERDOAR AS VOSSAS OFENSAS” ou a outra ” AQUELE QUE NUNCA PECOU, ATIRE A PRIMEIRA PEDRA”.
Imagine se o Nyusi, Guebuza, Chisaano, Dhlakama ou Ossufo, saissem por ai a processar ou mandar prender todos os que lhes falam cada coisa, as cadeias ja nao tinham espaços .
Imagine se os Bispos da Universal fossem assim, saindo por ai a processar cada pessoa que os fala contra ou contra suas acções e de suas Igrejas.
Este tal de Profeta, vai calar a boca de todos nesta pátria? Mas ele é o primeiro que chama os irmaos de futxeka, de pobres, e faz videos estupendos.
Libertem o jovem Beleza em pessoa e deixem ele fazer o seu trabalho de informar.
Viva a liberdade e abaixo ignorância.
DON’T SHACKLE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Imagine if the Universal Bishops were like that, going around suing everybody who speaks against them or against their actions and those of their churches.
This so-called Prophet, is he going to shut everybody up in this country? But he's the first one who calls his brothers futxeka, poor people, and makes stupendous videos.
Release the young Beleza em Pessoa and let him do his job of informing [people].
Long live freedom and down with ignorance.
A similar comment was made by the journalist and historian Euclid Flavio:
ÁPICE DO ANADMISSIVEL
Penso que o Profeta joel williams, já esta a exagerar. Nestas imagens podemos ver o Blogueiro DA BELEZA EM PESSOA, submetido a situações de tortura antes de chegar nas autoridades de Justiça, supostamente porque o Blogueiro, terá manchado a HONRA E BOM NOME do nosso Profeta.
Isto não podemos admitir. Que se faça algo. É preciso compreender que Da Beleza não é assassino, é um profissional “Honesto”. Isto não. Repito: não.
APEX OF UNACCEPTABILITY
I think the Prophet Joel Williams is already exaggerating. In these images we can see the blogger BELEZA EM PESSOA, subjected to torture before reaching the authorities of Justice, supposedly because the blogger has stained the HONOUR AND GOOD NAME of our Prophet.
We can't allow this. Something must be done. You have to understand that Da Beleza is not a killer, he's an “honest” professional. Not this. I repeat, no.
Much has been speculated over the origin of Williams’ wealth, which is still unknown.
Others have suggested that the kidnapping happened in retaliation not for the criticisms made by the YouTuber, but for the non-fulfillment of a supposed contract between Williams and Arsenio for the YouTuber to speak well of him on his channel, although this is only speculation. This possibility was raised by journalist Virgílio Conjo:
Contractar serviços de acessória de imagem é normal. Mas, tal deve ser feito dentro de um contracto com as cláusulas bem definidas: objectivo comunicacional, Target, formatos e por aí.
Os blogueiros, apresentadores de Rádio e televisão estão a prestar um mau serviço de acessória as figuras públicas em benefício das soupinhas. O que eles não sabiam é que um dia o feitiço vira contra o feiticeiro.
Eles, durante muito tempo ajudaram JW a sair das merdinhas nem!… e, não tardou, não tendo mais espaço para tanta merda JW atacou os próprios blogueiros…
Contracting services for image enhancement is normal. But, this must be done within a contract with well defined clauses: communication purpose, Target, formats and so on.
Bloggers and radio and television presenters are providing a poor service to public figures for the benefit of donations. What they didn't know is that one day the spell turns against the wizard.
They, for a long time, helped JW to get out of the shit… and, without delay, not having room for so much shit, JW attacked the bloggers themselves…