Armed men in military uniforms raid Congolese broadcaster, beat technician, and seize equipment, forcing radio station off air

Armed men wearing military uniforms of the Congolese army have raided the privately owned faith-based station, Radio Evangélique Butembo-Oicha, maltreated staff and took away some equipment.

Around 9 p.m. on September 12, four armed men in uniforms forced their way into the office of the radio station in Oicha, the capital of the Beni territory in North Kivu province.

The men also threatened two technicians, beat one on the back with the butt of a gun, and seized three computers, a recording device, and two mobile phones belonging to the technicians, according to media reports and Faustin Saumbire, the broadcaster’s editor-in-chief, who spoke to the international Charity, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The station stopped broadcasting after the attack and equipment seizures.

In May 2021, the Congolese government imposed military governance known as the “state of siege” over the country’s eastern North Kivu and Ituri provinces; repeated attacks and harassment of journalists in those regions have followed.

CPJ has called on the country’s authorities to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the attack on the radio station, and ensure that those responsible are held to account, and work to bring the broadcaster back on air.

Attacks on the press in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo by armed men in government military uniforms are far too frequent. They are grim indicators for freedom of the press in the country,” said Muthoki Mumo, CPJ’s sub-Saharan Africa representative, in Nairobi.

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