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Friday, 22 November, 2002, 14:11 GMT
Mozambique murder suspect 'in London'
Carlos Cardoso
Carlos Cardoso was investigating corruption cases

The mother of the key suspect in the murder of Carlos Cardoso, Mozambique's prominent journalist, has said that her fugitive son, Anibal dos Santos, is in London.

Terezinha Mendonca says that Mr dos Santos is willing to return to Mozambique and shed light on the assassination if he is given security guarantees.

People laying flowers at the murder site in Maputo
Cardoso's death shocked Mozambique
The trial of six men for Mr Cardoso's murder has been suspended until next Monday to allow his family and friends to mark the second anniversary of his death on Friday.

Carlos Cardoso dominated Mozambican journalism and led the struggle for press freedom as Mozambique abandoned Marxism and became a multi-party democracy.

Two of the defendants in the case have confessed their involvement in Mr Cardoso's assassination but said they were working on the orders of the son of the Mozambican president, Nhympine Chissano.

The BBC's Southern Africa correspondent Barnaby Phillips says his murder, and the subsequent investigation, have highlighted the growing corruption in one of Africa's best performing economies.

Visiting

Nhympine Chissano has not responded to the allegations but President Joaquim Chissano has said he wants justice done, irrespective of the allegations against his son.

After his escape from prison on 1 September, a lawyer for Mr dos Santos suggested that he may have been killed in custody in order to guarantee his silence.

Maputo
A Maputo road will be named after Carlos Cardoso

Ms Mendonca told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that her son, nicknamed Anibalzinho, was in London with some relatives.

Anibalzinho is being tried in his absence, along with five others, accused of murdering Carlos Cardoso.

In his statements to the police, Anibalzinho has denied everything.

He said he had not taken part in the crime and did not know any of the other accused.

In addition, he denied having a criminal record, although he is known to have been arrested at least once, in South Africa.

Silence

However, his mother told journalists in Maputo that Anibalzinho did take part in the murder, acting on the instructions of three of the other accused.

Ms Mendonca also claimed it was this trio which arranged Anibalzinho's escape from a top security prison.

They wanted him out of the country so that he could not incriminate them during the trial.

She claims that she can prove this in court because her son, Anibalzinho, told her everything.

She said she would ask the lawyer she has hired for the case, Simeao Cuamba, to set the machinery in motion for negotiations with the government so that Anibalzinho may return.

In order to mark the second anniversary of Carlos Cardoso's death on Friday, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony, the launch of a media competition on articles written about the Cardoso murder case, and the inauguration of a Maputo city road named after him.

See also:

18 Nov 02 | Africa
07 Mar 02 | Africa
23 May 01 | Africa
24 Nov 00 | Africa
08 Mar 00 | Africa
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