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DRC: Community radio journalist gunned down in eastern town

Kambale Musonia, a journalist working for Radio Communautaire de Lubero Sud in Kirumba, was murdered June 21 in the eastern province of Nord-Kivu. Aged 29, Musonia was shot three times in the chest at close range at around 7:30 p.m. by three unidentified men who were waiting for him outside his home as he returned from work, Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) reported.

RSF supported the request by Journalist in Danger, its partner organization in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the provincial authorities to “immediately launch a serious investigation with the aim of identifying and punishing those responsible for this murder.”

With the motive for Musonia’s murder yet to be established, RSSF believed the possibility that it was linked to his work as a journalist needed to be investigated thoroughly. Information obtained by Journalist in Danger points to this scenario. Four days before his death, he hosted a phone-in programme called “Kirumba toka tshini” (Kirumba rise up) in which callers blamed the violent crime in Kirumba on bandits operating with the complicity of the local police.

“We offer our condolences to Musonia’s family and friends,” RSF said. “This murder has unfortunately served as a reminder that the Kivu region and the rest of the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo are one of the most dangerous and deadly regions in Africa for journalists.

“Violence against the media has been a constant in this country for years. With just months to go to a presidential election that will inevitably exacerbate tensions, the authorities have more grounds than usual for immediately deploying whatever resources are needed to guarantee the safety of media personnel and defuse the tension. This includes concrete measures to protect journalists and combat impunity.”

Five other journalists have been murdered in the past four years in the east of the country, beginning with Radio Okapi journalist Serge Maheshe in Bukavu on 13 June 2007. The other four are Patrick Kikuku, Didace Namujimbo, Bruno Koko Chirambiza and Patient Chebeya Montigomo.

Three other journalists have been killed in the past six years in other parts of the country. They are Franck Ngyke and Bapuwa Mwamba, who were murdered in Kinshasa in 2005 and 2006, and Mutombo Kayilu, who was stabbed to death in Katanga in 2006.

Date posted: June 22, 2011 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 119