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Congolese journalist's body found in river 12 days after disappearance

Reporters Without Borders is dismayed to learn of radio journalist Guylain Chandjaro's death in Bunia, a city in the eastern region of Ituri. He was a Swahili-language journalist with Radio Canal Révélation, a community radio station, and freelanced for the Bunia branch of the national broadcaster RTNC.

His body was found in the bed of the River Ngezi – which crosses the city – on 17 May, 12 days after he went missing. He was buried later the same day.

“Chandjaro's body bore the marks of injuries on the back of the neck so he was clearly murdered,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We urge the authorities to investigate this properly in order to establish whether the motive was personal or linked to his work, and to arrest and punish those responsible.”

“We hail the apparent determination currently being shown by the authorities in charge of the case, and the fact that it is being closely followed by the region's governor and by the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).”

Radio Canal Révélation manager Richard Pituwa told Reporters Without Borders: “We firmly condemn what happened and we urge the local and national authorities to do more to protect journalists. What happened to Guylain can happen to other journalists as well.”

Several persons were arrested yesterday in connection with Chandjaro's death after the local prosecutor reported irregularities in the initial investigation and insisted that progress be made. The motive is still unknown and, for the time being, establishing a link with his work seems difficult.

According to information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, he was physically attacked five or six months ago. Then, shortly before his disappearance, he was beaten up in a bar by an unidentified man who took issue with comments he had made on one of his Radio Canal Révélation programmes called "Hewa Bora."

According to witnesses, the man told Chandjaro: “You think that being a radio journalist gives you protection? You will hear from me again.”

Fellow journalists organized a “Day without News Media” in Bunia on 16 May in protest against his disappearance. It included a peaceful march in which more than 100 people took part.

Chandjaro is the second journalist to be killed in the DRC this year. He follows Tatiana Kahashi, who was shot dead during clashes between rival M23 rebel factions in Rutshuru on 24 February. Many of her colleagues think she was killed deliberately rather than by a stray bullet, and point to the fact that a rebel chief explicitly threatened her in late 2012.

What other IFEX members are saying
  • DRC journalist found dead after missing for 12 days

    Richard Pituwa, director of the station, told CPJ that Chanjabo, a volunteer with the station since 2004, had rarely undertaken reporting assignments on sensitive topics but mainly translated and presented programs in Swahili. The programs focused on general issues including politics, corruption, impunity, crime, and human rights abuses.

  • IPI condemns journalist killings in Afghanistan, DRC, and Haiti

    The conflict between the Congolese army and the M23 rebels, a Tutsi-led rebellion allegedly backed by Rwanda and Uganda, has exacerbated the situation for journalists in the region. Both sides have attempted to control the media by restricting journalists' movement, prohibiting access, or by threatening journalists.

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