Uniformed Assailants Shoot at Journalist

New York, May 31, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the recent armed attack on Jean Ngandu, a Congolese journalist for Radio Okapi.

On the evening of Saturday, May 28, as Ngandu was returning from an assignment, several men wearing Congolese army uniforms accosted him in front of his home in Lubumbashi, a city in the southern Katanga Province. One of the assailants told Ngandu, “You talk too much, we’re going to put an end to it,” and shot at him five times, according to local sources. Ngandu, who dropped to the ground, was not injured.

It is unclear what provoked the attack, but CPJ sources said it might have been linked to Ngandu’s journalism for Radio Okapi, a station jointly run by the United Nations mission in the DRC (MONUC) and the Switzerland-based Hirondelle Foundation. Both Radio France Internationale (RFI) and Journaliste en Danger (JED), a press freedom organization based in the capital, Kinshasa, noted that Ngandu had reported on an alleged secession attempt in Katanga in late April.

“This attack demonstrates the daunting security situation faced by journalists working in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Ann Cooper, CPJ’s executive director. “Authorities in the DRC must ensure a thorough, independent investigation into the attack on Jean Ngandu and bring the perpetrators to justice.”