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An aerial view shows a crowd gathered outside the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) headquarters in Kinshasa on May 30, 2019, as supporters await the return of the remains of former Congolese Prime Minister and opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, who died in Belgium in 2017. A Congolese radio journalist was attacked by UDPS supporters at a Kinshasa rally on October 5, 2019. (AFP/Alexis Huguet)

Congolese radio journalist attacked by ruling party supporters at Kinshasa rally

October 23, 2019 5:55 PM ET

On October 5, 2019, Dominique Dinanga, a reporter for the privately owned Top Congo FM radio station, was attacked by supporters of the ruling Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party at a rally in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where former Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala was to receive an award, according to the journalist, Thierry Kambundi, the editor-in-chief of Top Congo FM, who spoke to CPJ over the phone, as well as a report by the local press freedom group Journalistes En Danger and media reports.

Dinanga told CPJ by phone that he received an invitation from the UDPS to cover the event, but when he arrived at the venue and presented his press card to the security guards, he was barred from entering. While negotiating with the security staff, a crowd behind him started shouting “We will kill you” in the local Lingala language before pushing him to the ground and beating him with sticks, Dinanga said. After he was able to get up and attempted to walk away from the crowd, several individuals followed and threatened him until event organizers intervened and took him to the hospital, he told CPJ.

Dinanga, who sustained injuries to his back, hip, and head, said that Tschibala visited him in the hospital the day after he was admitted; the visit was also reported by Top Congo FM. Dinanga told CPJ that Tshibala paid his medical bill. The journalist was discharged from the hospital on October 15.

Kambundi told CPJ that Top Congo FM intended to file a complaint with the police during the week of October 21; the complaint had yet to be filed at the time of publication.

Maurice Muyananu, a UDPS spokesman, told CPJ he would not oppose a police investigation into the attack against Dinanga, but did not elaborate on what action would be taken within the party to identify or hold those responsible accountable.

CPJ’s repeated messages and calls to Pierrot Muanamputu Epung, the spokesperson for the national police, and Sylviano Kasongo, a police official in charge of investigations in Kinshasa, went unanswered.

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