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DRC: Goma rallies to demand end to killing of journalists

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Photo tirée d'un reportage Africanews / Gaël Mpoyo

Democratic Republic Of Congo

A vigil for press freedom. In Goma, dressed in black, dozens of journalists gathered on Friday evening to pay tribute to fellow pressmen murdered in the last four months in Congo's North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

Two journalists have been murdered in eastern Congo in August alone, according to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

Baronnie de Byakato radio-television director Joel Mumbere Musavuli, was stabbed and killed along with his wife at his home by suspected Mai- Mai militiamen, in the early hours of Saturday, 14 August 2021.

Eight days earlier, unknown assailants had slit Heritier Magayane's throat in the village of Bunyangula, Rutshuru near Goma. 

Magayane was a journalist with Congo's state broadcaster Radio Television nationale.

"We said to ourselves that we must stand up to demand safety for journalists," said Rosalie Zawadi, president of the National Union of the Press (UNPC) North Kivu.

Eastern Congo was placed under emergency rule by President Felix Tshisekedi as part of his campaign against armed groups. 

Threats to journalists come from militia groups and security forces according to rights watchdogs.

"It is deplorable that the state of siege that is gradually materializing can unfortunately also give the opportunity to some of these detractors of press freedom to act. We are concerned and we have asked for serious investigations to be carried out during this period of the state of siege," said Tuver Hundi, a journalist in Goma.

In May, journalist Barthelemy Kubanabandu Changamuka was shot eight times and killed just minutes after hosting a radio program in the Masisi area of North Kivu. 

The region which is awash with armed groups remains one of the worst places for journalists to work.

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