New York, February 18, 2014–A journalist in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo died on Sunday from gunshot wounds he sustained in a shootout between Congolese troops and Ugandan rebels, according to news reports.
Germain Kennedy Mumbere Muliwavyo, 28, reporter for the private broadcaster Radio Télévision Muungano in the town of Oïcha, was shot in the stomach and head on Saturday by fighters of a Ugandan rebel group called the Allied Democratic Forces, according to news reports. He was riding in a vehicle of the Congolese national armed forces when the fighters ambushed the car.
Two other journalists were also injured in the attack. Mitterand Hangi, reporter for Radio Télévision Muungano, and Patient Subiri, reporter for Radio Télévision Rwanzururu, a community radio station based in the city of Beni, were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, The Associated Press reported.
The journalists were in North Kivu and were on their way to report on the village of Kamango, which the Congolese national armed forces had retaken from Ugandan rebels the day before, according to Congolese press freedom group Journaliste En Danger (JED). Periodic fighting between the Congolese armed forces and rebel groups has made North Kivu the most dangerous region for journalists, according to CPJ research. CPJ documented at least 15 anti-press violations in 2013.
Since mid-January, Congolese troops have launched military operations to drive out Ugandan rebels from their hideouts in the eastern part of the country, according to news reports. Nearly 3 million people have been displaced in the violence in recent weeks, according to news reports.
“The death of Kennedy Mumbere Muliwavyo underscores the danger for journalists in North Kivu province,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. “We call on all sides fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo to respect journalists’ civilian status and allow them to report safely.”
Muliwavyo is the first journalist in more than six years that CPJ research has determined was killed in relation to his work. In 2007, CPJ documented the death of Serge Maheshe, an editor and reporter for U.N.-sponsored Radio Okapi, who was gunned down in the eastern border town of Bukavu.