Authorities in Mozambique say a prominent academic and constitutional law scholar, who has openly supported greater autonomy for parts of Mozambique, has been shot to death.
Police say Gilles Cistac, who taught law at the prestigious Eduardo Mondlane University and wrote for an opposition newspaper, was at a local coffee shop when he was shot several times by someone in a passing car. He later died of his wounds at Maputo's Central Hospital.
Cistac, a Mozambiquan of French origin, had spoken to media, including VOA, several times during the past year to say that a movement by the opposition for greater autonomy for the north and center of the country could be justified under the national constitution.
The opposition Renamo party disputes last October's election and is demanding greater autonomy in the regions where it has the most support.
In a recent interview with VOA Portuguese to Africa, Cistac said Mozambique “should opt for an experimental law, or a model, if not for all provinces, for some, with a more democratic system than the one that currently exists." He said the new model should be evaluated at the provincial level and then considered for extension to the entire country.
Both Renamo and the ruling Frelimo party have condemned the shooting. Renamo says the shooting must have had a political motive. A presidential representative, Antonio Gaspar, called for those responsible for the shooting to be arrested and brought to justice.
Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.