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Central African Republic9 January 2006

Ex-presidential guard member threatens RSF correspondent

Reporters without Borders has condemned threats made against Maka Gbossokoto, the director of the private daily newspaper "Le Citoyen" ("The Citizen"), by a presidential guard sub-lieutenant who was recently dismissed from the army and is known for his brutality.

After the 4 January 2006 publication of an article entitled "Year 2006 Starts in Pain and Tears" in "The Citoyen", the daily’s director Maka Gbossokoto received a phone call at 6:15 p.m. (local time) from sub-lieutenant Jean-Célestin Dogo, an ex-"Liberator" (the name given to those who assisted in the 2003 rebellion that brought François Bozizé to power). The soldier, recently ousted from the military, expressed his anger at a recent report in "The Citoyen" about the fatal settling of a 3 January dispute in a northern district of Bangui that degenerated into confrontations between police and citizens. He insulted the journalist, who is also an RSF correspondent and president of the Central African Journalists Union (UJCA) and ended the conversation in saying, "We will meet and see."

Sub-Lieutenant Dogo, reputed to be close to President François Bozizé since he assumed power, is notorious amongst the residents of Bangui for his cruelty. He was stripped of his rank and returned to civilian life on 21 September 2005 for "indiscipline and dishonour in the army and abuse of authority", after the bodies of two soldiers who had been arrested by his men a few days earlier, were discovered. Following this incident, the head of state reminded the armed forces to act with "humanism" and "respect for human rights."

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