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Democratic Republic of Congo13 October 2006

Gunmen sabotage relay transmitter of TV station owned by presidential candidate

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the destruction yesterday by unidentified gunmen of a transmitter in the southeastern province of Katanga that relayed the satellite broadcasts of Canal Congo Télévision (CCTV), a station owned by presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba.

“This kind of action is highly regrettable, as it just aggravates a climate already poisoned by hate and violence,” the press freedom organisation said. “For this reason, the Congolese police must do everything possible to shed light on this targeted act of sabotage. Failing that, rumour and suspicion will feed the antagonism that has already caused the population too much suffering and inflicted so many wrongs on the media.”

In yesterday’s raid, a group of gunmen forced their way in the relay station, 15 km south of Lubumbashi, beat and tied up three policemen who were there, and then poured acid on the CCTV transmitter.

Bemba, the station’s owner, is taking part in a second-round election runoff on 29 October.

The relay station was previously the target of an attack in March in which a technician was killed. The police investigation into that attack yielded no results.



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