On 7 October 2019, Human Rights Defender Dr. Anastácio Matavel, 58, was brutally murdered. Dr. Matavel was killed after he attended a training session for election observers in the southern Gaza province.
Five men armed with assault rifles shot Mr Matavel 10 times before fleeing in a car, which crashed during their getaway. Two died in the crash, one was arrested and two remain at large, police said. Four of the five men in the car were members of an elite police unit, known as the Rapid Intervention Force, authorities said.
Human Rights Watch described Mr Matavel’s killing as “a chilling development that casts a dark shadow over the Mozambican elections”.
Dr. Matavel was the founder and Executive Director of FONGA-Gaza NGO Forum and chairman of the General Assembly of JOINT Liga of NGOs in Mozambique. Dr. Matavel believed fair and free elections are a key factor for the consolidation of peace, democracy and human rights necessary for the development of Mozambique.