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Radio host fears for his safety following threats

(JED/IFEX) – Kinshasa 4 November 2011 – A journalist with the local radio station Radio Communautaire Mitumba (RCM), based in Uvira, Sud-Kivu, eastern DRC, has gone into hiding after receiving several death threats over a radio show he hosted.

Robert Shemahamba, station director at RCM, went into hiding on 1 November, after the 30 October edition of his radio show, "Couleurs dominicales" ("Sunday Colours"), during which his guests criticised Uvira state prosecutor John Twendi, resulted in several anonymous threats to the journalist and a summons from the public prosecutor's office.

Shemahamba had invited eight candidates from both opposition and ruling coalition parties to appear on his Sunday show. During the show, the group announced they had started a petition against Twendi over the non-completion of various work projects launched by the local sugar mill in Kivu.

"After the show, Zébédé Wabunga, the local government administrator, barged into the RCM studio threatening me over the content of the show," Shemahamba told JED.

Twendi, meanwhile, acknowledged issuing a summons for Shemahamba but declined to reveal his motive for the move, saying only that if the radio director did not appear before the public prosecutor's office, he would issue a warrant for his arrest.

JED is troubled by the public prosecutor's actions, which appear designed to silence the journalist during this crucial electoral period.

JED has sent a lawyer to advise Shemahamba on his legal options.

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