Radio station burned down in Burkina Faso

Abuja, August 27, 2015–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns an arson attack on the independent Radio Manegmoogo in Burkina Faso on Monday and calls on authorities to identify and prosecute the perpetrators. The attack comes in the run-up to elections scheduled in October in a country that spent almost three decades under the authoritarian rule of recently ousted President Blaise Compaore, according to news reports.

The majority of Burkina Faso’s population listens to the radio every day, according to news reports citing Development Media International, a regional organization that runs TV and radio campaigns.

“The attack on Radio Manegmoogo effectively hinders an entire community from exercising its right to be informed–which is particularly grievous in the run-up to presidential elections,” said Peter Nkanga, CPJ’s West Africa representative. “We call on Burkinabè authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Unidentified individuals on Monday night attacked a security guard of Radio Manegmoogo, in the north central town of Pissila, and then set fire to the station, according to news reports. The security guard suffered a head injury and was found lying in his blood, news reports said. It is unclear if the guard has been able to identify the perpetrators.

Emmanuel Bamogo, the owner of the station and once mayor of the town, told CPJ that the station could no longer broadcast because all of its equipment, including the solar panels which powered the station, was damaged in the fire.

Bamogo said the station had not received recent threats and that he could not point to any critical reports that could have led to the attack. The station covers local news and entertainment, and rebroadcasts news from the national broadcaster Radio Télévision du Burkina and from Radio France Internationale.

Bamogo told CPJ that police were investigating the attack. CPJ could not immediately reach the police for comment.