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Lawyer slain in Mozambique received threats


A prominent lawyer and academic who was shot dead on Tuesday in Mozambique’s capital Maputo, had recently received threats on Facebook, the country’s prosecution said Wednesday. 

Gilles Cistac, a constitutional law professor at Eduardo Mondlane University who favoured more autonomy for Mozambique’s provinces, was gunned down in broad daylight on a main street in Maputo.

Last week Cistac had filed a complaint after insulting remarks against him by a Facebook user going under the pseudonym “Calado Calachnicov”, Portuguese for “silent Kalashnikov”, prosecution spokesman Marcelino Vilankulo told AFP.

The anonymous Facebook critic accused him of being a “French spy”.

Cistac, a naturalised Mozambican citizen of French origin, was a frequent contributor to opposition newspaper Canal de Mocambique.

He had been heavily criticised in recent weeks by the government press after defending a proposal by opposition lawmakers to grant the country’s 11 provinces greater autonomy.

The opposition party Renamo and some independent media suggested the ruling Frelimo party was behind the attack.

Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama described the killing as “heinous” and a “violation of the freedom of expression and opinion”.

“If Frelimo radicals have decided to kill him, thinking that it would demoralise Dhlakama and Renamo, they are mistaken,” said the former rebel chief on television late Tuesday night.

He said Cistac was never a member of Renamo but he “contributed to the development of our democracy, he was a great friend of the Mozambican people.” 

The long-ruling Frelimo party won the October elections with 57 percent of the vote, but the opposition Renamo made a strong showing of 37 percent, pulling a majority in five provinces.

But Renamo was reluctant to accept the results, boycotting the inauguration of new president Felipe Nyusi and shunning the opening of parliament.

It threatened to create a parallel government in the central and gas-rich northern regions of the country where it won the most votes.


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