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DRC: UN Condemns Murder of Radio Journalist

DR Congo: UN mission condemns murder of radio journalist in South Kivu

22 November 2008 – The top United Nations official in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has condemned last night's killing of a journalist working for a UN-sponsored radio station in the troubled Great Lakes country, the second assassination of its kind in the same city in 17 months.

Didace Namujimbo, 34, who worked for Radio Okapi, died after being shot in the neck by unknown assailants about 9:30 p.m. as he returned to his home in Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province in the DRC's far east. He leaves behind a wife and three children.

Alan Doss, the Secretary-General's Special Representative to the DRC and the head of the UN peacekeeping mission to the country (known as MONUC), deplored the “cowardly murder” in a statement released today and pledged that the mission would do its utmost to help prosecutors in their investigations.

“MONUC strongly condemns this foul act. MONUC calls on the authorities to spare no effort in bringing the author or authors to justice,” Mr. Doss said, adding that he offered his sincere condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of Mr. Namujimbo.

Last night's killing in Bukavu occurred just 17 months after Serge Maheshe, a news editor for Radio Okapi, was shot dead by two men on a street in the same city. A Congolese military tribunal subsequently convicted several people of charges related to the killing.

Radio Okapi is a partnership between MONUC and the Hirondelle Foundation, a Swiss non-governmental organization (NGO). In a statement issued today Hirondelle has also deplored the murder.

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 (the FARDC) have been fighting a rebel militia known as the CNDP, which is 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.

This week the Security Council authorized the deployment of an extra 3,000 troops and police officers so that MONUC can better quell the violence and a UN mediator, the former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, has been involved in talks with Congolese President Joseph Kabila, Mr. Nkunda and others to try to broker a political solution.

ENDS

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