Radio Star

August 23, 2009, in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Eight assailants in civilian clothing attacked Chirambiza, 24, and a friend while they were walking home from a wedding celebration, according to the local press freedom group Journaliste en Danger (JED). Stabbed in the chest, the journalist died around 1:30 a.m. after being taken to a local hospital. A presenter of the Swahili newscast and a host of cultural programs covering music and youth issues, he had not reported any threats, according to Radio Star News Director Jimmy Bianga.

Speaking to Radio France Internationale (RFI) from the capital, Kinshasa, Congolese Communications Minister Lambert Mende declared that Chirambiza’s murder was a result of “banditry taking place in this city since the war began.” The assailants, however, did not steal any of the journalist’s personal belongings, which included a mobile phone and 5,600 Congolese francs (US$7), according to Bianga.

In the same interview with RFI, Mende said the government immediately ordered police and the state prosecutor to launch an investigation. Local journalists and JED noted that Chirambiza was buried within hours of his death, without an autopsy. No murder weapon was found.

One person suspected of involvement in the attack was lynched by a local mob a few days after the murder, but no arrests were made, according to local journalists. 

Motive Unconfirmed: CPJ is investigating to determine whether the death was work-related.

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