Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed his deep distress at hearing of the murder of a journalist working for a UN-sponsored radio station in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Didace Namujimbo, 34, died after being shot in the neck by unknown assailants about 9:30 p.m. last Friday as he returned to his home in Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province in the country’s far east. He leaves behind a wife and three children.
“This crime is all the more devastating as it marks the second time in less than two years that a member of Radio Okapi’s staff has been brutally killed in the same city,” Mr. Ban said in a statement.
Radio Okapi is a partnership between MONUC and the Hirondelle Foundation, a Swiss non-governmental organization (NGO).
Last June, Serge Maheshe, a news editor with the station, was shot in Bukavu while entering a UN car. A Congolese military tribunal subsequently convicted several people of charges related to the killing.
“Didace Namujimbo’s murder underlines once again the deep insecurity in the DRC, particularly for journalists, whose work leaves them particularly vulnerable,” the Secretary-General said, extending his deepest condolences to the slain journalist’s family, friends and colleagues.
He said that the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known by its French acronym MONUC, is following the investigation closely and that the UN also stands ready to assist.
Mr. Ban called upon the country’s authorities to ensure that the case is investigated thoroughly and “pursued to the full extent of the law.”
In a statement issued on Saturday, Alan Doss, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of MONUC, deplored the “cowardly murder” and pledged that the mission would do its utmost to help prosecutors in their investigations.
The DRC continues to be plagued by violence in its far east, despite the official end of its brutal civil war earlier this decade. The fighting has been worst in North Kivu province, which – like South Kivu – borders Rwanda, and has displaced an estimated 250,000 civilians in the past three months.
Congolese armed forces, or FARDC, have been fighting a rebel militia known as the Congress in Defence of the People (CNDP), led by the renegade general Laurent Nkunda. Other armed groups, including the Mayi Mayi, have also been involved in deadly clashes, some of which have been along ethnic lines.