Deputy governor threatens to “kill” journalist’s wife and children

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Journalist in Danger (JED) condemn the repeated threats against journalists in Kasaï-Central province, in the south-central part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the latest instances, both provincial deputy governor Justin Milonga and Jean Shesh, the administrator of the province’s Mweka region, went so far as to threaten the families of journalists in an attempt to silence their reporting. RSF and JED deplore such flagrant attacks on freedom of information, which are unworthy of a democratic government, and call on the authorities to stop persecuting the media.

JED’s press release follows:

8 May 2017

“Your wife and children will have to die for you to finally understand,” Kasaï-Central province deputy governor Justin Milonga told Edouard Diyi, the head of Radio Télévision Kasaï Horizons (KHRT), a radio and TV station based in Kananga, the provincial capital.

In the opinion of Journalist in Danger (JED), this threat was too explicit and too serious not to be taken seriously, especially in a province where violence is common and journalists put their lives on the line every day.

According to the information obtained and corroborated by JED, Diyi was covering a protest outside the governor’s office on 5 May when he was verbally attacked by Milonga, who clearly did not appreciate his presence.

Milonga told him: “So you’re here, Edouard. I’ve told you many times but you don’t change. All of the provincial security council’s members are fed up with you. I’ll have you arrested. I will personally follow your case closely to see that happens. You know me well. I will get rid of your radio station. We battle day and night to deal with the security situation and you just fuel the tension. I think your wife and children will have to die for you to finally understand.”

In Mweka, a city in the same province 250 km northwest of Kananga, Radio Télévision Mweka reporter Jérôme Mwana Nsthieyi fears for his life after criticizing certain Brahmanist preachers and accusing them of straying from the sect’s philosophy.

A group of armed men stormed into Nsthieyi’s home at around 7 am on 6 May, when he was not there, searched the house from top to bottom and then left with his wife. They forcibly took her to the home of Mweka’s administrator, where she was ordered to tell them where he was. She was finally released at around 6 pm.

JED is extremely concerned about the repeated threats against journalists in recent months in Kasaï-Central province, where they are constantly targeted by both the provincial authorities and the Kamuina Nsapu militia.

JED calls on the provincial authorities to put a stop to this persecution.

Published on
Updated on 09.05.2017