Tanzanian journalist found murdered in forest

Nairobi, January 9, 2013–A journalist was found murdered in northwestern Tanzania on Tuesday, three days after he went missing from his home, according to local journalists and local reports.

The body of Issa Ngumba, 45, a reporter for Radio Kwizera, was found in Kajuhuleta Forest with a gunshot wound in his left arm and evidence that he had been strangled or hanged, according to local journalists who interviewed coroner Primus Ijumaa. A handgun was found next to his body along with two mobile phones and 10,000 Tanzanian shillings (US$6.25) in his pocket, according to news reports. Ngumba’s wife, Rukia Yunus, said her husband left their home in the evening on January 5 to go to the town center and never returned, according to news reports.

Regional Police Commander Fraisser Kashai said police would begin investigations following the coroner’s report, local journalists said. The Tanzanian Editor’s Forum also plans to carry out an independent investigation, Chairperson Absalom Kibanda told CPJ.

“We send our condolences to the friends and family of Issa Ngumba,” the Committee to Protect Journalists’ East Africa consultant, Tom Rhodes, said. “Authorities must do their utmost to solve this heinous crime.”

According to local reports, residents of the rural Tanzanian region of Kigoma where Ngumba was killed suspect that the reporter may have been targeted for a November story concerning a gruesome attack by a local cattle owner against one of his staff. The story, aired on November 24, claimed a local cattle owner had brutally wounded a shepherd under his service, according to reports.

In September, CPJ documented its first work-related journalist fatality in Tanzania since the organization began keeping detailed records in 1992. Channel Ten reporter Daudi Mwangosi, who was also chairman of the press club in the southern city of Iringa, was killed on September 2 while covering clashes between police and members of Tanzania’s largest opposition political party, Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema). Authorities arrested and charged one police constable, 23 year-old Cleophase Pasifious, for the murder, according to news reports.