Moroni – The new finance minister of the Comoros island nation off the southeast African coast has apologised to journalists for insulting and threatening them last week.
Kamalidine Souef, a former chief of customs, had publicly warned journalists not to criticise him at his inauguration ceremony last week.
“The rubbish uttered by these bastard journalists must stop,” Souef said.
“When I was merely chief of customs, no one stood up for me,” he said. “Now I have henchmen.”
Both the presidency and the Comoros journalists’ union were appalled by the outburst, prompting Souef to apologise on Monday.
“I let my feelings get the best of me,” he said in a statement.
“My most ardent wish is to see journalists continue to work freely in our country,” he added.
The apology shows “he has understood how dangerous his remarks were,” the national media regulator said in a statement.
Critics have accused Comorian President Azali Assoumani of creeping authoritarianism since he was re-elected leader of the tiny archipelago in 2019 – an election victory disputed by the opposition.
Journalists and politicians openly critical of the president have been jailed.
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