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Employees injured, held hostage in attack on DRC's national TV broadcaster

Residents gather to watch as security forces patrol the street near the state television headquarters in Kinshasa, 30 December, 2013.
Residents gather to watch as security forces patrol the street near the state television headquarters in Kinshasa, 30 December, 2013.

REUTERS/Jean Robert N'Kengo

Reporters Without Borders and its partner organization Journalist in Danger (JED) condemn the attack, on 30 December 2013, on state-owned Radio Télévision Nationale Congolaise (RTNC) in Kinshasa by men armed with clubs and machetes, and urge the authorities to do everything possible to provide journalists with more protection.

The approximately 30 assailants stormed the national radio and TV broadcaster's headquarters at around 8 a.m. and invaded the TV studio. The authorities quickly disconnected the TV's signal to prevent them from broadcasting any message.

RTNC personnel were reportedly held hostage for more than three hours, until the security forces recovered control of the building.

According to the information obtained by JED, ten RTNC employees – a journalist and nine technicians – were taken to the emergency department of Kinshasa's Ngaliema Hospital with injuries.

RTNC journalist José Feruzi said employees who tried to hide in the TV control room were badly beaten by 10 of the attackers. “The assailants ransacked all of the control room's equipment (…) they chased us and beat us with their weapons, above all with steel bars and clubs.”

One technician sustained a gunshot injury in still unknown circumstances.

Communication minister and government spokesman Lambert Mende gave a news conference afterwards at which he reported that eight of the assailants were killed and three were captured.

Responsibility for the attack has been claimed by a group led by Gédéon Mukungubila, a self-styled “prophet” based in the southeastern city of Lubumbashi who was an unsuccessful presidential candidate in 2006.

The attack on RTNC was followed by attacks on Njili international airport and on military barracks in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Kindu on 30 December.

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