NOVEMBER 3, 2005
Posted: November 8, 2005

Franck Kangundu, La Référence Plus

Kangundu, a veteran political affairs journalist at the independent daily La Référence Plus, was shot dead shortly after midnight by unidentified assassins who accosted him at his home in the capital, Kinshasa. The attackers also killed Kangundu’s wife, Hélène Mpaka.

The Kinshasa-based press freedom organization Journaliste en Danger (JED) reported that several masked men approached Kangundu in front of his house, forced their way in, and shot his wife as she tried to escape. When Kangundu offered them money and his car if they would let him go, the assailants replied that they had been “sent to kill him,” according to witnesses interviewed by JED whose names were withheld. The assailants took the journalist’s mobile phone before leaving.

Kangundu, 52, worked for La Référence Plus for more than 10 years and was well-respected by his colleagues, local journalists said. He covered a variety of topics for the newspaper, including the sometimes acrimonious relations between political parties in the DRC’s power-sharing government, as well as business and economic issues.

A delegation of journalists met on November 7 with Vice President Azerias Ruberwa to demand an independent inquiry. The meeting was held after 1,000 journalists and other media workers took part in a silent demonstration through the streets of Kinshasa. The government said it had detained two suspects and promised a full inquiry.