Freelance shot dead in the Congo

Media freedom groups are condemning the murder of a freelance journalist who was shot dead in his home by a gang of unknown men dressed in both military and civilian clothes.

The Congolese journalist Bapuwa Mwamba worked for several local publications in the capital city of Kinshasa, where he was known to be a vocal critic of state authorities.

His murder comes just weeks away from presidential and parliamentary elections in the Democratic Republic, which will be the first time elections have been held since independence in 1960.

The day before his murder, the freelance published a commentary in a daily newspaper, criticising Congolese authorities for failing to help the country along its political transition.

“An increase in militia activities has added to the growing insecurity that reigns in the East,” Mwamba wrote in an opposition daily.

“Frequent attacks on human rights, caused most often by the military, are now part of the Congolese landscape... The State does not function.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists, which cited the extract, said they would be launching a full investigation to determine if Mwamba’s murder was related to his work as a journalist.

The killers of Bapuwa Mwamba must not go unpunished,” said Joel Simon, executive director of CPJ.

“It is essential that the government shows its commitment to press freedom and the safety of journalists by conducting a rigorous and rapid investigation into this murder, the second killing of a journalist in his own home in just eight months.”

Reporters Without Borders expressed similar outrage, saying the killing of the freelance takes the recent media death toll to two – both acts at the hands of a unknown groups of gunmen.

The Paris-based group said investigators were told that two of the gunmen who went to Mwamba’s home wore civilian clothes while the third had military-style trousers.

Mwamba’s nephew fled as they arrived, and went to alert the police. Upon his return, he found his uncle lying in a pool of blood, with a gunshot wound to his left thigh, the group said. Ainsi le sang afflue dans le pénis plus facilement et permet de manière naturelle obtenir une érection sexuelle. Il est important d’ajouter que Cialis 5mg peut restaurer la fonction sexuelle chez les hommes mais la stimulation sexuelle est nécessaire pour augmenter l’efficacité de ce produit médical.

Reporters Without Borders reflected: “We are extremely disturbed by the climate of violence against journalists just a few weeks before the presidential election. We call on the Congolese government to do everything possible to guarantee the security of the media, especially as the election campaign has just opened with a journalist being slain.”

The CPJ said the murder acts as a reminder of the “grave dangers” media professionals face when working in the region.

“Journalists have long faced punitive prison terms under the country’s repressive media laws, as well as violence and threats from security forces, militias, and insurgent groups,” the group said.

“However, CPJ has documented an increase in attacks on the press in the lead-up to July’s elections.”

Both media freedom lobbyists said the freelancer’s house was recently raided by officials dressed in military uniforms. A complaint was lodged after it emerged a significant sum of money had been stolen. There was however no follow up to the complaint, sources told CPJ.


13th July 2006

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