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NEWS PHOTOGRAPHER SHOT DEAD

Journaliste en danger (JED) and other free expression groups voiced dismay at the killing of freelance photographer Patrick Kikuku Wilungula on 9 August 2007.

Kikuku, who worked for the Agence Congolaise de Presse (ACP) and the Kinshasa-based weekly "L'Hebdo de l'Est", was shot in the head by a gunman who accosted him near his home in Goma, capital of the eastern province of Nord Kivu. According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), he was arrested by two armed men in military uniforms, one of whom shot him in the head when he attempted to run away.

Witnesses said the gunmen took his camera but not his mobile phone or cash, JED reported. JED urges the Congolese government to conduct a serious investigation of the murder and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Kikuku's was the fifth killing of a media professional in DR Congo since November 2005, and the second in two months. On 13 June, gunmen killed "Radio Okapi" news editor Serge Maheshe Kasole in still unexplained circumstances in Bukavu, in eastern Sud Kivu province.

"The government makes no serious attempt to put a stop to this violence," said Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF). "The inability of the Congolese authorities to render justice to the victims of violence makes this kind of tragedy possible."

"DRC is now the most dangerous place for journalists in Africa after Somalia," the IFJ said. It added that Kikuku, who also worked for the private newspaper "Union Magazine", was active in the National Association of the Press of Congo.

The IFJ also renewed its call for the release of Michel Shango and Vincent Hata, journalists at the state-owned Congolese National Radio and Television who were detained on 27 July in connection with trade union activities.

Visit these links:
- JED: http://www.jed-afrique.org
- IFJ: http://www.ifjafrique.org/anglais/index.php?page=lire&id=325
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=23252
14 August 2007

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