Shots fired at the home of a journalist in Bissau the day after an armed attack on his radio station

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is concerned to learn that shots were fired at the home of a Capital FM journalist just 24 hours after masked men attacked the Bissau-based opposition radio station, injuring several journalists. The Bissau-Guinean authorities must react immediately in order to protect the staff of this station, says RSF.

Bullet holes can be seen outside the reporter Rui Landimafter individuals armed with Kalashnikovs opened fire on the facade and the front door on the evening of February 8. RSF was informed that the assailants did not go inside but fired repeatedly and aggressively, and some of the bullets hit a wall near his grandson’s bedroom. Landim is the political journalist of a Capital FM program called “Pontos Nos I’s” (Dotting the I’s).

Capital FM executive director Lassana Cassama told RSF that armed men in a car spent long minutes outside the home of another political journalist from the radio station, Luiz Vaz Martinsthe same evening, without opening fire.

In the attack against Capital FM, on February 7, masked men armed with Kalashnikovs injured seven people inside and ransacked all its equipment. One of the journalists, Bar Maimunai, is still in serious condition in the military hospital in Bissau with spinal and rib injuries.

In response to a question from the RSF correspondent at a press conference on February 9, President Umaro Sissoco Embaló said that the Interior Ministry was “responsible for ensuring the safety of media professionals” and that an investigation was “under way to identify those responsible and bring them to justice”.

This series of attacks against Capital FM and its journalists is very alarming,says Sadibou Marong, director of RSF’s West Africa office. “A week after the coup attempt, we hold the authorities responsible for the fate of these journalists. The “isolated incident” line broadcast by the police does not hold water. It is essential that the authorities react as quickly as possible to protect these journalists who are – undoubtedly – ​​directly targeted.

Police assistant commissioner for public order Salvador Soares described the February 7 attack as an “isolated incident”, said the attackers “just damaged broadcast equipment” and insisted that there was “no cause for alarm”.

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. They have never been identified.

Guinea-Bissau is ranked 95th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index.