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Television station attacked, programme host in hiding

(JED/IFEX) - 20 March 2012 - At approximately 2 a.m. on 20 March 2012, Radio Télévision Kindu Maniema (RTKM), a private broadcaster transmitting from Kindu, the capital of Maniema province, was attacked by a group of unidentified men who set fire to the station's satellite antenna, damaging a part of its headquarters.

According to information obtained by JED, RTKM, a station belonging to Ngongo Luwowo, a current senator and former minister under Mobutu, was attacked by a dozen men who doused its satellite antenna and a car on the premises in fuel, and set them on fire before fleeing the scene.

Since early February 2012, RTKM has been the target of threats by the governor of the province, Tutu Salumu, who ordered station management to end broadcasts of call-in programmes, wherein his management of the province is often called into question. Mira Dipenge, one of the programme hosts, has been in hiding for five days out of fear that he will be arrested by police, on Salumu's orders.

JED firmly condemns this attack on RTKM's headquarters, which aims to definitively silence a channel that is critical of provincial authorities. JED calls upon national and judicial authorities to put an end to this climate of fear that Salumu aims to instill in the province.

Please note that this is an abridged translation.

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