Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
December 2, 2005
Posted to the web December 2, 2005
Three journalists who worked with murdered editor Carlos Cardoso on his daily newsheet "Metical" on Friday told the Maputo City court that they had seen Anibal dos Santos Junior ("Anibalzinho") in and around the "Metical" offices in the weeks leading up to Cardoso's murder on 22 November 2000.
On Thursday, the first day of his retrial, Anibalzinho, who is accused of leading the death squad that carried out the killing, denied ever visiting the "Metical" offices.
The prosecution argues that a second member of the death squad, Carlitos Rashid, regularly visited the offices to familiarise himself with them, and with Cardoso's movements, and that occasionally he was accompanied by Anibalzinho. Rashid himself, who fired the shots that killed Cardoso, made a full confession in the first trial, held from November 2002 to 2003, at which Anibalzinho, who had escaped from prison, was tried in absentia.
Journalist Victor Matsinhe told the court that Anibalzinho had appeared one evening at around 18.30, and claimed he wanted to buy a single copy of the paper. He produced a 50,000 metical note (worth about four US dollars at the exchange rate of the time), but the "Metical" staff did not have change.
This was habitually the tactic of Rashid - to produce a large banknote to buy one copy of the paper, and then watch the office while the staff tried to find change.
Matsinhe recalled Anibalzinho asking "Is that white guy over there Carlos Cardoso ?". Matsinhe confirmed that the white man typing at a computer in a corner of the office was indeed Cardoso.
On a second occasion, on 30 October 2000, Matsinhe saw Anibalzinho with Rashid in a car outside the "Metical" office. He wrote down the number plate of the care - Rashid's behaviour had aroused suspicion among the paper's staff.
A second journalist, Aurelio Muianga, confirmed that Anibalzinho had entered the office and asked "is that white guy Carlos Cardoso ?" Zacarias Couto, the "Metical" office manager, testified that he had seen Anibalzinho and Rashid hanging around in a parked car in a side street near the "Metical" offices in October 2000.
Cardoso's injured driver, Carlos Manjate, also testified. He said the car that had overtaken the Toyota that he was driving, forcing it to the side of the road before Rashid opened fire, was driven by a man with fair skin.
He had not seen his face clearly, but whereas the man in the passenger seat was undoubtedly black, the driver was either white or of mixed race. In either case, his skin was "rather fair".
This description fits Anibalzinho, who was born of a Mozambican father and a Portuguese mother. He is indeed a man of mixed race, with a light complexion.
Manjate was seriously injured in the attack, and so Anibalzinho faces, in addition to the charge of murdering Cardoso, a charge of the attempted murder of Manjate.
Manjate took a bullet to his head, and has not fully recovered. He can no longer drive a car, and has not worked since the murder.
He told the court that, because of his financial difficulties, some of his ten children have dropped out of school. The family is currently surviving thanks to the petty trading undertaken by his wife.
Manjate's lawyer, Helder Matlaba, has demanded compensation from the killers of 500 million meticais (about 20,000 US dollars) for his client.