from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – JOURNALISTS covering a reign of terror by armed groups and outbreaks of Ebola in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are enduring persistent violations by security forces.
In the latest allegation, media rights groups accuse the personnel of harassing a community radio station that broadcast reports that a senior military officer had overseen the detention and torture of adults and children in an underground dungeon at a military camp in the Ituri province.
Radio Communautaire Amkeni Biakato (RCAB) carried the report.
Radio Télé Communautaire Babombi (RTCB) has reportedly been targeted as well, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa programme coordinator, said security forces should stop acting as censors and should ensure that journalists could report freely on the military without fear of intimidation or harassment.
“Those responsible for the threats against radio stations RTCB and RCAB should be identified and held accountable,” she said.
Journalists in Ituri province have faced persistent insecurity in recent years.
In 2019, radio broadcaster Papy Mumbere Mahamba was killed after broadcasting advice and information about the response to an Ebola outbreak in the area.
Also in 2019, unidentified individuals set fire to RCAB’s office and left leaflets threatening its staffers.
Last year, unidentified people attacked RCAB director, Parfait Katoto, stole his recording equipment, and ordered him to stop his coverage of the Ebola outbreak.
Ituri is an epicentre of armed groups and ethnic clashes.
– CAJ News