Didace Namujimbo

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Some of the suspects in the Didace Namujimbo murder trial. (JED)

Didace Namujimbo, a journalist for Radio Okapi, was shot dead on the night of November 21, 2008. Now, after repeated delays, a military court in Bukavu, capital of the province of South Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, is putting on trial a dozen people charged in connection with the murder.

Top Developments
• RFI removed from FM frequencies; other stations censored.
• Hundreds march in nine provinces to protest ongoing threats, violence.

Key Statistic
3: Female journalists threatened with “a bullet to the head” after focusing their work on women’s issues.


Authorities censored coverage of armed conflict and human rights violations in the mineral-rich eastern Kivu provinces. Insecurity reigned in the volatile region, despite the presence of the world’s largest U.N. peacekeeping force. Tens of thousands of people continued to die every month from conflict, disease, and famine, while human rights groups detailed pervasive rape and sexual violence. The vast Central African nation remained among the region’s riskiest for journalists three years after it transitioned to democracy in historic U.N.-backed elections. Throughout the country, officials harassed and obstructed journalists who criticized local officials.

Didace Namujimbo, right, with colleague Serge Maheshe at Radio Okapi offices in 2006. Both were later murdered. (Déo Namujimbo)

I shall never forgive myself for having initiated and encouraged my younger brother, Didace Namujimbo, to take up journalism. Working for 21 years in Bukavu, a city nestled on the picturesque shores of Lake Kivu, led me to cover every aspect of the brutal conflict and humanitarian catastrophe in this part of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, but a year ago nothing prepared me to deal with the news that my brother had been killed.

CPJFranchou Namegabe Nabintu, an award-winning journalist from the Democratic Republic of Congo, operates in one of the most dangerous regions for journalists in Africa. She is a founding member of the South Kivu's Association of Women Journalists (AFEM), which has trained female journalists and presents radio programs spotlighting women's issues, especially in rural areas. CPJ interviewed Nabintu, at left, on Tuesday, on the heels of her stirring testimony before the U.S. Senate last week to discuss the challenges of reporting in the volatile eastern province of South Kivu, where violence against women is commonplace. 

Two years after transitioning to democracy in historic U.N.-backed elections, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was one of the most perilous countries in Africa for journalists. For the fourth consecutive year, a journalist was murdered in unclear circumstances, this time in the unstable, strife-torn east of the country.

New York, November 24, 2008--Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo should thoroughly and transparently investigate the killing of a radio reporter on Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

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