CPJ condemns murder of Congolese journalist in Equateur province

NEW YORK, 23 April 2015 – PRN Africa — The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of Soleil Balanga, a journalist in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and calls on Congolese authorities to ensure that they conduct a thorough investigation and that the perpetrator is brought to justice.

Balanga, a radio reporterfor the local station Monkoto Soso Aleli in the city of Monkoto,Equateur province in the north of the country, was headed home from work on April 16 when he was attacked by a singleassailant, according to the local stationRadio Okapi and the local press freedom organizationObservatory for the Freedom of the Press in Africa.The journalist’s throat was slit, and he died from blood loss, the reports said.

The Monkoto Soso Aleli radio station had been off the air for several weeks because of a broken transmitter, according to the reports. In an effort to continue reporting, Balanga would walk through the town early every morning and announce the local news using a megaphone, the sources said. The day before Balanga was killed, he reported about the supervisor of the Monkoto General Hospital being replaced. ” Soleil Balanga showed a deep commitment to informing his community by overcomingtechnicalchallenges he faced,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director. “Congolese authorities must conduct a credible and efficient investigation into this senseless murder and ensure that the killer is held to account.”

The community in Monkoto was divided following the announcement of the hospital’s new supervisor, with some residents supporting the new appointment and others in support of the outgoing supervisor, according to the reports. On April 15, citizens marched in support of the newly appointed supervisor. Radio Okapi said that the provincial minister of health deferred the new assignment.

Police arrested the son of the former hospital supervisor as a suspect in the murder, according to the reports. He remains in custody. CPJ could not determine whether he had been charged or if he has responded to the accusations.

SOURCE Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

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