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Democratic Republic of Congo25 April 2006

Journalist beaten up by presidential guard

Reporters Without Borders today condemned a brutal beating meted out to a radio journalist by several members of the presidential guard in Kisangani, in the north-east of the country.

Anselme Masua of Radio Okapi, a station run by the Swiss foundation Hirondelle and the United Nations Organisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) was attacked and beaten about the head and back. .

The journalist had been sent by the radio on 24 April 2006 to cover the start of registration of troops belonging to a unit attached to the presidency, the “Republican Guard”. They were due to be reintegrated into the new national Congolese army.

As soon as he entered the camp, Masua, who was clearly identified as a journalist from Radio Okapi, was approached by ‘Captain Jules’, head of the Republican Guard, who insulted him, his radio and the MONUC. His men then beat the journalist about the head and body. The same captain then took him back to his office at the MONUC headquarters.

“In the current climate, this kind of incident cannot go unchallenged. It is unacceptable that the presidential guard feels free to beat a journalist with complete impunity, even more so since Radio Okapi plays a key role in providing news and information to the Congolese people and in the pacification of the country,” it added.

“The superior officers of the captain implicated in this case must take disciplinary action against him and apologise to the victim”.

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