07 June 2012
Katanga: JED calls on the Congolese authorities to trace the perpetrators of the kidnapping of a journalist specialist in mining issues
Journaliste en Danger (JED) strongly urges the Congolese authorities to conduct a serious investigation to find out the group of individuals who have made a kidnapping of a journalist in the city centre of Lubumbashi for several hours before dropping him in the next morning at the outskirts of the town.
According to preliminary information obtained by JED, Franck Fuamba, Director of Mining News, a magazine specialized in mining issues and published in Lubumbashi, capital of Katanga province (south-eastern DRC), was kidnapped, downtown, on Wednesday 6 June 2012 at 6:00 pm local by a group of armed men in civilian clothes driving a jeep without plate number. The journalist was carted around over night in the city; eyes covered, and then abandoned the next day at about 4 am near a school in commune of Katuba, outskirts of Lubumbashi, stripped of all his property.
Fuamba accompanied by one of his colleagues were walking home from their job toward a supermarket for the shopping. Arrived a few miles from the supermarket, he was intercepted by four unidentified men who, after a brief dispute, have forced him into the vehicle and then hooded. He was taken at night in a house in the town of Katuba where he was subjected to a tight questioning, particularly about his intimate relationships, politicians close to him and political information published in his magazine.
The same night, another journalist with Mining News, Sylvie Manda, who tried to alert everyone of the kidnapping, received a phone call from the number 0997600610 threatening to meet her the next day.
Contacted by JED, Fuamba said that , while he was still in the hands of his captors, his partner was about to pack up to leave the house for unknown reasons. "As suspected, she was placed under arrest and heard by the police. In March this year, I received several anonymous threats regarding the publication of an article on the energy shortages in Katanga which disturb the functioning of the mining companies. In this paper, I accused the National Electricity-Providing Company (SNEL)", he added.
For JED, as this group of men are not put out of harming, it represents a serious threat to the safety of other journalists in the city.