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Journalist Attacked by Congo Army While Covering Protest


The Committee to Protect Journalists stated Tuesday that authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) must investigate and hold accountable the soldiers who attacked journalist Lucien Lyenda while he was covering a demonstration against insecurity in the country’s southern Tanganyika province.

Lyenda, a reporter for the privately owned news website Moba Actualités Médias, was attacked by three DRC armed forces soldiers on Sunday while reporting on a demonstration against worsening security in the town of Kirungu in Tanganyika province’s Moba Territory, according to Lyenda and local journalist Matthias Makolovera. Lyenda told CPJ that as one soldier held him by the neck, the other two punched him and struck him with a rifle. Lyenda claimed that as a result of the incident, he had a swollen face, neck ache, and sought treatment at a local clinic for a minor head wound.

“It is a brutal irony that soldiers beat DRC journalist Lucien Lyenda as he worked to cover a public demonstration against insecurity in the country’s Tanganyika province. Security forces should be protecting members of the public, not attacking them,” said Angela Quintal, head of CPJ’s Africa program, in New York. “When security forces attack journalists working to report on events of public interest, like demonstrations, it sends a chilling message that the government does not want people to be informed and is willing to accept violence as a tool of censorship.”

According to news sources, three people were killed during the protest, and the administrator of Moba territory, Victor Kanfwa Kyongo, accused local journalists of using their media outlets to call for demonstrations, claiming they were wanted by intelligence agencies. The reports did not identify the journalists, their outlets, or provide information about the purported broadcasts or publications.

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