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IFJ Condemns Shooting of Journalist in DRC; Killing Is Third in Two Years

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This woman died and world press took no notice-- Copyright keith harmon snow

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the killing of radio journalist Serge Maheshe, whose shooting yesterday evening in the eastern town of Bukavu made him the third journalist murdered in the country since November 2005.

Having recently returned from this area as a MONUC-accredited journalist, we can attest to the absolute lawlessness which exists in this region. This includes atrocities committed against the people of DRC by US, conservation and multi-national interests.

Journalists are trying mightily to get the message out about the absolute carnage in this part of the world and are paying the price.

“We are deeply disturbed by the killing of Serge Maheshe and the continuing danger journalists face in DRC,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “We send our condolences to Serge’s family and we affirm our solidarity with his Radio Okapi colleagues as they continue their work despite the difficult environment.”

The IFJ also called on the government to conduct a full and impartial investigation into Maheshe’s death.

Maheshe, the local head of UN-backed Radio Okapi in the town of Bukavu was shot by two unidentified armed men in plainclothes in the street yesterday at around 9 PM local.

According to reports, Maheshe was coming from the home of a friend he had been visiting when he was killed. He was with two other friends who were not injured. Radio Okapi sources said they have no information on the reason for the killing.

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Serge Maheshe is the first staff member of Radio Okapi killed since the radio station was set up in 2002 and the third journalist killed in DRC in two years.

On 3 November 2005 Franck Kangundu and his wife were killed just as they entered their home. Bapuwa Muamba was shot on 8 July 2006 by unidentified gunmen who broke into his home. In both of these cases suspects have been sentenced or are on trial but local sources say the real perpetrators are still on the loose.

The IFJ calls on the government to reopen both of these investigations so those who are truly responsible are brought to justice.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries

See also reportage by keith harmon snow:

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota, New Orleans and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill (more...)

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