Canada urged to extradite Mozambique murderer

Canada is being urged to extradite the killer of one of Africa's top investigative journalists, according to a report

Canada is being urged to extradite the killer of one of Africa's top investigative journalists, according to a report.

Anibal Antonio dos Santos Jr. – convicted of murdering Mozambican journalist Carlos Cardoso four years ago – is believed to have been arrested by Interpol at Toronto's Pearson airport in last week.

Canadian authorities have not confirmed the arrest, but a South African newspaper quoted an immigration spokesperson as saying dos Santos had claimed refugee status.

Mozambique Foreign Minister Leonardo Simao is confident Canada would give up dos Santos despite the absence of an extradition treaty between the countries, according to the BBC.

Dos Santos, better known as "Anibalzinho," escaped last week from a prison in the capital of Maputo.

After initially being sentenced to death in absentia, dos Santos was serving a 28 year-sentence for murdering Cardoso.

Cardoso had been investigating a massive bank fraud when he was gunned down in a Maputo street in November 2000. Some $14 million was siphoned out of the impoverished country's state bank in 1996 just before it was privatized

The murder case threw a spotlight on corruption in this former Portuguese colony that endured years of murderous civil war.

Three of the six men eventually found guilty of Cardoso's murder later accused the son of Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano of paying them to kill the journalist.

That accusation was not stood up, but 15 people are still on trial over the bank fraud.

The circumstances of dos Santos's escape are being investigated. A Maputo newspaper reported dos Santos had been helped by police.

Dos Santos has escaped prison before. He was recaptured in January 2004 in South Africa after four months at large.