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Journalist gunned down in North Kivu province

JED

(JED/IFEX) – Kinshasa, 6 April 2010 - Journaliste en Danger (JED) has expressed its outrage after a sixth journalist in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was killed on 5 April 2010. JED is calling on local authorities to provide an explanation for the murders and asks that no lead be overlooked in investigating the motive for this crime.

Patient Chebeya Bankome, better known as 'Montigomo', was shot dead at his home in the Mulekera neighbourhood of Béni at around 10:30 p.m. on 5 April by three armed men in military uniform. Montigomo, 35, a respected reporter and freelance cameraman, worked for a number of television stations in Béni, the third largest city in North Kivu province, eastern DRC.

According to JED sources in Béni, Montigomo was returning home from Studio Panorama, his recording studio, when he was surrounded by his assailants – who had apparently been waiting for him – in front of his home, just as his wife opened the front door for him. The assailants took his bag, containing videos, a cell phone and an unspecified sum of money before dragging him to the middle of the courtyard and shooting him six times at close range.

According to the testimony of his wife, who witnessed the scene, the attackers ignored her and Montigomo's pleas, saying they had come to kill him. The journalist's body remained where he was killed until the next morning; meanwhile, two hours after the murder, Béni's head of security was announcing the arrest of two suspects in neighbouring Ruwenzori, just five kilometres from the scene of the crime.

A local journalist who spoke to JED early on the afternoon of 6 April said that local authorities and a medical examiner arrived on the scene earlier that morning to investigate the site and examine the body. "(His) body is so battered that he will have to be buried today," said the source.

Patient Chebeya Bankome is the sixth journalist to be killed in eastern DRC since 2005. Before him, Pascal Kabungulu, Serge Maheshe, Patrick Kikuku, Didace Namujimbo and Bruno Koko Chirambiza all died under circumstances that remain unexplained to this day.

According to various sources, Montigomo was a well-known reporter and cameraman who had covered all the armed conflicts in eastern DRC, particularly in Ituri.
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