The date of 7 July 2020 marks the ninety days since the disappearance of Ibraimo Mbaruco, announcer of local Radio and Television at Palma, in the north of Cabo Delgado province, in an act that constitutes a crime of abduction and/or kidnapping.
Ibraimo Mbaruco was last seen on 7 April 2020, the same date as around 6pm, when he sent a text message to his colleague, Juma Saíde Alide, saying he was "surrounded by the military". Ibraimo Mbaruco was riding a black Algazal motorbike, which was taken with by the kidnappers. Since this occurrence, MISA Mozambique has been carrying out all sorts of actions in order to locate Ibraimo Mbaruco.
As part of these efforts, which include contacts with the State and Government authorities, MISA-Mozambique sent a team to the city of Pemba, capital of Cabo Delgado province, from 15 to 17 June 2020, in order to gather more details on the circumstances that led to the kidnapping of Ibraimo Mbaruco and to investigate, in detail, the course of the process resulting from the family's complaint to the Public Prosecutor's Office in the city of Pemba on 14 April 2020.
During his stay in Pemba, the team made several contacts that is considered relevant, namely with relatives of Ibraimo Mbaruco, leaders of media associations and with public entities with responsibility in terms of investigating situations that constitute the legal type of crime of abduction and/or kidnapping. Given the nature and sensitivity of the subject, most contacts are not expressly identified, and it is certainly true that elements relating to the general typology of the same contacts are presented where this is possible and safe.
From the contacts maintained by the mission in Pemba, the following information was collected:
1) Upon receiving Ibraimo Mbaruco's message informing him of the siege he was in, his colleague, Juma Saíde Alide, made Ibraimo aware that soon (Ibraimo) would have to go and open the local Radio and Television broadcast of Palma, owned by the Institute of Social Communication (ICS), of which both are collaborators. This was the last communication that Ibraimo was aware of;
2) All the local authorities in Palma have been informed of Ibraimo's disappearance;
3) On 14 April, Ibraimo's family formally submitted a complaint about his disappearance to the Cabo Delgado Provincial Prosecutor's Office in Pemba;
4) MISA-Mozambique became aware of information circulated, trying to imply that at the time of his disappearance, Ibraimo had been drunk, supposedly as a result of excessive consumption of Nipa, a traditional drink that is consumed in various regions of the country. However, this information is categorically refuted by the family, who say that, for religious reasons, Ibraimo does not consume alcoholic beverages;
5) It has also been implied that Ibraimo's disappearance may be related to passionate issues;
6) On the 8th June, at two different times, relatives of Ibraimo who are in the province of Nampula called his brother, Juma Mbaruco, resident in the city of Pemba, informing him that they had tried to call ibraimo's telephone and that it was ringing, but nobody has answered;
7) Juma Mbaruco confirms that, upon receiving this information, he tried twice, from 05:27pm of the same day, to connect to Ibraimo's number and confirmed that it was active, but it was not being answered either;
8) This information was communicated to SERNIC, through an agent who requested that the number be sent to him in order to follow up the issue;
In view of the data collected, part of which MISA Mozambique reserves the right not to make them public out of respect for the obligation of legal confidentiality, it is considered:
1. That the disappearance of Ibraimo Mbaruco falls within the broader context of human rights violations that have been reported in certain regions of Cabo-Delgado province affected by armed conflict;
2. There are many elements that indicate that this is not a simple disappearance, as suggested by the theses on his involvement in alcoholic beverages or passionate issues, but a crime of kidnapping against the journalist Ibraimo Mbaruco. MISA must point out that allegations about passionate issues have been frequent in situations where journalists are kidnapped or assaulted in Mozambique;
3. That the details of telephone calls made to the Ibraimo Mburuco telephone number on 08 June are sufficient to allow the authorities to access his location;
4. That the circumstances surrounding Ibraimo's 'disappearance' provide sufficient evidence for the authorities to determine its location; 5. Therefore, MISA-Mozambique appeals to the national authorities to clarify this case, leading, finally, to Mbaruco's return to family harmony as soon as possible;
6. MISA Mozambique also calls on the national authorities to take the necessary measures to ensure that similar cases do not happen again;