Ricardo de Mello was shot in the head near his Luanda apartment by an unidentified gunman on January 18, 1995. He was 38.
De Mello covered the Angolan Civil War in the 1990s for VOA. He was best known as the founder of Imparcial Fax, a daily news service covering government corruption, faxed to subscribers. A local journalists’ union stated that it is likely that de Mello was killed because his coverage of high-level corruption and the government’s war effort angered conservatives within Angola’s government.
According to his wife, de Mello had recently been warned by military officials of the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party to stop writing about the war. He was killed only two months after the signing of the Lusaka Peace Accord, an agreement to uphold human rights stricken between Angola’s ruling party and the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) rebel forces. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported that the chief investigating lawyer was ordered by intelligence agents to drop the investigation into De Mello’s murder.
De Mello is survived by his wife.