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Reporter receives death threat

(MISA/IFEX) - On 31 July 2009, Roy Habaalu, a reporter for the independent bi-weekly "Monitor and Digest" newspaper, received death threats and was nearly attacked by unidentified individuals at the place where he was staying in Mongu district, Western province. Habaalu received the threats following the publication of a story alleging that the 2007 auditor general's report noted a misappropriation of funds by the provincial administration in Western province. According to a report published on 4 August in "Monitor and Digest", Habaalu has since launched a complaint regarding the actions against him with the Mongu Central Police.

"It was in the morning last Friday, around 11:00 a.m., when I received a phone call on a private number threatening to 'sort me out' for writing a story on the auditor general's report of 2007. I was told that I had stepped on the wrong toes and that they will track me down until I am dead," Habaalu said.

On the evening of 31 July, six unidentified individuals came to the lodge that Habaalu was staying at and violently knocked on his door for about 20 minutes, but he did not allow them entry. He later discovered that the same group also went to check his time of departure from the province and the bus service he intended to use. The Mongu Central Police confirmed that an investigation into the actions against Habaalu has been opened. MISA Zambia has also called on the police to ensure that the culprits are brought to justice for threatening the life of the reporter.

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