Radio reporter killed in southern Chad village massacre
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Chadian authorities to shed all possible light on last week’s massacre in southern Chad in which a radio reporter was killed while covering an attack by local herders on a village of farmers.
The journalist, Evariste Djaï-Loramadji, provided his Christian community radio station, Radio Lotiko, with a brief live report at 4:39 p.m. on 9 February, in which he said people were “fleeing into the bush” in a confused situation in his village, Sandana, located 600 km southeast of the capital, N’djamena. That was his last report for the radio station. When Radio Lotiko tried to contact him a few minutes later, he did not reply. His body was found in the early evening by a colleague who had arrived from a nearby locality. He had been shot several times in the head.
RSF has learned from local sources that Djaï-Loramadji had been trying to establish why people were fleeing the village. It emerged that a herder’s death in a motorcycle accident was called a “murder” by a local police officer, which prompted other herders armed with guns to stage a punitive raid on the farming village. Djaï-Loramadji was one of the 11 people killed.
“Until the end, this journalist tried with a great deal of determination and courage to report what was happening in his community,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “The authorities have a duty to shed all possible light on this massacre that left 11 dead, including this journalist, who had already been threatened in similar events. Impunity endangers those who report the news, and threatens the population’s access to information. It must be ended.”
Around ten people were killed in Sandana on 26 August 2019 in a previous punitive raid resulting from a conflict between herders and farmers. Djaï-Loramadji received several threats after covering that massacre, RSF was told by the director of his radio station.
The Union of Chadian Journalists (UJT) has issued a statement calling for the perpetrators and accomplices of the latest massacre to be prosecuted and punished in order to render justice to Djaï-Loramadji.
Chad is ranked 123rd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index.