January 18, 2018

Democratic Republic Of Congo : Radio station director kidnapped in Nord-Kivu

Around 20 Beni-based radio and TV stations suspended broadcasting on the 13th of January to demand Jadot Mangwengwe's release. ©
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the authorities to conduct a swift investigation in order to identify those responsible for kidnapping radio station director Jadot Mangwengwe and around ten other people on the outskirts of Beni, a city in Nord-Kivu province, in the far east of the Democratic of Republic of Congo, on 12 January.

The director of Radio Télévision Graben Beni, Mangwengwe and the other ten persons were abducted by unidentified armed men who stopped vehicles arriving in the city from the southeast. Around 20 Beni-based radio and TV stations suspended broadcasting the next day in a show of solidarity with Mangwengwe and to demand his release.

We are extremely concerned about Jadot Mangwengwe and we ask the authorities to shed all possible light on his abduction,” RSF said. “Journalists in Nord-Kivu are caught in a very unstable political and security environment and are increasingly becoming its collateral victims. The authorities have a duty to protect journalists and to ensure that any act of violence against them does not go unpunished.

According to the local authorities, Mangwengwe’s abductors are thought to have been members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group operating in the region. Witnesses said they wore military uniforms.

The latest report on press freedom and freedom of expression in the DRC by the Congolese NGO Journalist in Danger (JED) identifies Nord-Kivu as the most problematic region for press freedom after the capital, Kinshasa. More than 19 press freedom violations were registered in the province in 2017.

The DRC is ranked 154th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2017 World Press Freedom Index.