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Cablegate: Radio Journalist Killed in Eastern Drc

VZCZCXYZ0022
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKI #1074 3391556
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041556Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8860
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SADC COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001074

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KDEM KPAO CG
SUBJECT: RADIO JOURNALIST KILLED IN EASTERN DRC

REF: A) KINSHASA 270, B) KINSHASA 441, C) KINSHASA 1105
Sensitive but Unclassified.

1. (SBU) Summary: Didace Namujimbo, a Radio Okapi journalist, was
killed November 21 by an unidentified armed man in Bukavu, South
Kivu province. This is the second Radio Okapi journalist
assassinated in this town in the past eighteen months. Two other
journalists were victims of violence in Kinshasa over the last
couple of years. End summary.

2. (U) Didace Namujimbo was shot at point-blank range after a MONUC
vehicle had dropped him off near his house around 9:30 p.m. on
November 21. According to human rights NGO Journalistes En Danger
(JED), a relative of Mr. Namujimbo said that the assassin apparently
stole the victim's cell phones, but not the U.S. and Congolese
currency that he carried in his pocket. It is not clear at this
point whether the assassination is linked to Mr. Namujimbo's work as
a journalist. Judicial authorities in Bukavu are currently
investigating the case.

3. (U) In June 2007, Radio Okapi sub-editor Serge Maheshe was
killed under similar circumstances in the same city. His death was
followed by a botched and confused assassination trial. Similar
trials also provided impunity for those behind the assassination of
La Reference Plus journalist Frank Ngyke(ref A and B) in 2005 and
the killing of Bapuwa Mwamba, a Le Phare reporter, in 2006 (ref C),
both of whom were killed in Kinshasa. In a November 22 press
release, JED stated that violence that targets journalists in the
DRC feeds on impunity for the assassins and instigators and that
trials are a travesty of justice.

4. (SBU) Comment: The brutal killings of Namujimbo, Maheshe,
Mwamba and Ngyke are illustrative of the destructive effects of
pervasive impunity in connection with violating the freedom and
safety of journalists in the DRC. Although there is no obvious
pattern of targeted violence against media representatives as a
whole, the fact that individuals holding positions of political or
military power can end the lives of dissenting or independent media
professionals at will is itself cause for concern. End comment.

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