AFEX Condemns Grenade Attack on Journalists in DRC

Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on March 9, 2017 threw a grenade at a group of journalists covering a mob action which resulted in the injury of two journalists.

The two, Roger Ebolinda working with Radio Haki Za Bin Adamu and Sefu Kabemba working with Radio Inter Viens et Voies were both hit by the shrapnel of the grenade in the legs while covering an altercation between the police and angry residents who wanted to lynch two suspected thieves in Alunguli district in Kindu, capital of Maniema province in DRC.

According to a member of the African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) in DRC, Journaliste in Danger (JED), the grenade seriously injured Roger Ebolinda in the right leg and Sefu Kabemba in the left heel.

The injured journalists were quickly rushed to Kindu General Hospital and have since been receiving medical treatment.

In a statement issued on March 13, 2017, JED condemned the attack on the two journalists and called on the country’s authorities to punish the police officers responsible.

“Journalist in Danger (JED) strongly condemns this deliberate attack targeted at journalists who were carrying out their duty. JED demands that sanctions be imposed on the police officers responsible for this attack on journalists’ physical integrity,” the statement said.

AFEX joins JED to condemn the action of the police which has resulted in the injury of the two journalists who were carrying out their legitimate duty. We express concern about the deteriorating freedom of expression situation in the DRC and urge the government to ensure journalists’ safety at all times. The use of grenade at the scene by police officers against journalists who were only doing their work was unwarranted.

We urge the police authorities to investigate and punish the officers responsible for this unacceptable act to serve as a deterrent to others. The police must also compensate the victims for their injury and medical bills.