12 June 2012

Congo-Kinshasa: Journalist Abducted in Lubumbashi

press release

Journaliste en danger (JED) has urged Congolese authorities to make every effort to apprehend a group of persons who abducted a journalist in downtown Lubumbashi and held him for several hours before letting him go in a neighbouring town in the dead of night.

According to JED's information, Franck Fuamba, managing editor of the Lubumbashi-based Mining News magazine, was abducted on 6 June at about 6:00 p.m. (local time) by a group of armed men in civilian dress who forced him into a jeep. Forced to wear a hood, the journalist was taken from place to place over the course of the night. They took all of his belongings and finally let him go near a school in the neighbouring town of Katuba at about 4:00 a.m.

At the time of his abduction Fuamba was walking back to his newsroom after having purchased groceries with a colleague. He was stopped near the grocery store by four unidentified men who forced him into a vehicle after a brief altercation and placed a hood on his head. The men drove him to multiple locations, including a Katuba home where he was questioned at length about his personal relationships, the politicians he knows and the political news stories that appear in his magazine.

That same night, Mining News journalist Sylvie Manda received a threatening phone call while seeking assistance for her abducted colleague. The caller promised to find her the next day.

"Back in March I received a series of anonymous threats over my article about energy problems in Katanga that negatively impact the functioning of mines in the region. I had notably criticised the National Electric Company," Fuamba told JED.

Until the journalist's abductors are apprehended they will continue to pose a threat to Lubumbashi journalists' security, JED said.

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