DRC journalist found dead after missing for 12 days

Abuja, Nigeria, May 23, 2013–Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo should identify the motive behind the murder of a radio presenter who was found on Friday after being missing for 12 days, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Guillain Chanjabo, 58, a presenter with youth-based community station Radio Canal Revelation, was last seen on May 5 while he was on his way to the radio station in the northeastern city of Bunia, news reports said. He was found partially clothed with stab wounds in his head, back, stomach, and legs in the Ngezi River, a few miles from Bunia, according to news reports and his employer. Jacques Sezabo, the medical director of Bunia’s General Hospital, told local journalists that he had also been strangled, the reports said.

Richard Pituwa, director of the station, told CPJ that Chanjabo, a volunteer with the station since 2004, had rarely undertaken reporting assignments on sensitive topics but mainly translated and presented programs in Swahili. The programs focused on general issues including politics, corruption, impunity, crime, and human rights abuses.

Chanjabo’s motorcycle was found at a mechanic’s workshop on May 7, which prompted the police to detain some individuals for questioning, according to local journalists and news reports. No one was charged.

The motive for the murder was not immediately clear, local journalists told CPJ. Pituwa said Chanjabo had once received death threats and was stabbed with a knife about five months ago on his way home in a dangerous part of the city, but that the journalist had not wanted the case to be investigated, Pituwa said.

The state prosecutor’s office is investigating the murder, Gracien Iracan, editor of Radio Canal Revelation, told CPJ.

“We express our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Guillain Chanjabo,” said Peter Nkanga, CPJ’s West Africa Consultant. “Congolese authorities must thoroughly investigate this terrible killing, identify the motive, and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

While Chanjabo was missing, Congolese journalists had staged a peaceful protest in Bunia, while media stations suspended their broadcasts, to show concern for the missing journalist and to call on the government to launch an investigation, news reports said.

Chanjabo is survived by his wife and six children.