2 January 2014

Congo-Kinshasa: Ten Employees Injured in Armed Attack On National TV Broadcaster

press release

Reporters Without Borders and partner organization Journalist in Danger (JED) condemn yesterday's attack, on 30 December 2013, on state-owned Radio Télévision Nationale Congolaise (RTNC) in Kinshasa by men armed with clubs and machetes, and urge the authorities to do everything possible to provide journalists with more protection.

The approximately 30 assailants stormed the national radio and TV broadcaster's headquarters at around 8 a.m. and invaded the TV studio. The authorities quickly disconnected its TV's signal to prevent them from broadcasting any message.

RTNC personnel were reportedly held hostage for more than three hours, until the security forces recovered control of the building.

According to the information obtained by JED, ten RTNC employees - a journalist and nine technicians - were taken to the emergency department of Kinshasa's Ngaliema Hospital with injuries.

RTNC journalist José Feruzi said employees who tried to hide in the TV control room were badly beaten by 10 of the attackers. "The assailants ransacked all of the control room's equipment (... ) they chased us and beat us with their weapons, above all with steel bars and clubs."

One technician sustained a gunshot injury in still unknown circumstances.

Communication minister and government spokesman Lambert Mende gave a news conference afterwards at which he reported that eight of the assailants were killed and three were captured.

Responsibility for the attack has been claimed by a group led by Gédéon Mukungubila, a self-styled "prophet" based in the southeastern city of Lubumbashi who was an unsuccessful presidential candidate in 2006.

The attack on RTNC was followed later yesterday by attacks on Njili international airport and on military barracks in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Kindu.

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