Soleil Balanga

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Balanga, a radio reporter for the local station Monkoto Soso Aleli in the city of Monkoto, Equateur province, was killed by a single assailant early in the morning while walking home from work, according to the local station Radio Okapi and the local press freedom organization Observatory for the Freedom of the Press in Africa. The journalist’s throat was slit, and he died from blood loss, the reports said.

The Monkoto Soso Aleli radio station had been off the air for several weeks because of a broken transmitter, according to the reports. In an effort to continue reporting, Balanga would walk through the town early every morning and announce the local news using a megaphone, the sources said.

Balanga’s death came one day after he reported on the replacement of the supervisor of the Monkoto General Hospital.

The announcement of the hospital’s new supervisor had divided community members in Monkoto, with some residents supporting the new appointment and others in support of the outgoing supervisor, according to the reports. The day prior to the attack, Monkoto citizens marched through the community in support of the newly appointed supervisor. According to Radio Okapi, the provincial minister of health deferred the new assignment.

On February 22, 2016, the High Court of Boende found Moussa Tendenle, the son of the former hospital supervisor, guilty of having slit the journalist’s throat, and sentenced him to death, according to a press release issued by Journaliste en Danger, a Congolese press freedom organization.