Journalist working for state media killed in eastern DR Congo

Investigation into murder of Heritier Magayane initiated, armed groups active in region prime suspects, says army

James Tasamba   | 09.08.2021
Journalist working for state media killed in eastern DR Congo Murdered journalist Heritier Magayane, Photo: RTNC

KIGALI, Rwanda

A young journalist working for the state-run Congolese National Radio and Television (RTNC) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was stabbed to death late Saturday, the army said on Monday.

Heritier Magayane, 26, was killed in the Bunyangula neighborhood, about 70 km (43 miles) from Goma town in Rutshuru territory of North Kivu province, Luc Albert Bakole Nyengeke, the military administrator of Rutshuru, told reporters.

He had received a phone call from someone asking to meet him, and was killed after reaching the venue, Nyengeke said.

Noting that an investigation has been launched into the incident, the official said the killers are yet to be identified. He, however, added that armed militias operating in the area are the prime suspects.

Magayane hosted programs for young people, advising them to embrace peace in the face of insecurity in the region, according to Roger Sebyeradu, his former colleague. He had been working in Rutshuru since 2018.

The killers took away his mobile phone, Sebyeradu said, adding that he believed the murder is in connection with his journalism work because the radio station reports cases of kidnapping.

His body bore torture marks, according to the former workmate.

In May, DRC President Felix Tshisekedi proclaimed a "state of siege" in North Kivu and the neighboring Ituri province, replacing senior civilian officials with army officers to curb the growing insecurity.

Conflict in DRC

The DRC has been plagued by violence and insecurity for years, resulting in widespread poverty and hunger. It has also suffered frequent outbreaks of deadly diseases, including waves of the Ebola virus, now complicated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The situation in eastern DRC, particularly in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu, and Ituri, is highly volatile, with clashes between armed groups over control of territory and natural resources.

Civilians have borne the brunt of the conflict, with thousands losing their lives in the last few years.

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia, one of several armed groups in the region, has been active since the 1990s.

It has carried out several attacks against security forces and United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), which is active in the region since 2010.

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