Congolese journalist remains missing after commemorating killed colleague

The whereabouts of a Congolese journalist and media proprietor, who went missing at the height of the renewed M23 insurgence in the war ravaged eastern parts of the country, are still unknown.

Press freedom activists and media associations have condemned the kidnap and are urging the Kinshasa government to heighten investigations into the disappearance of Mr Innocent Garubanda Byamungu, who was also the Director for la Vioix de Mikeno radio based in Kiwanja.

They also call upon any armed group that could have been involved is his kidnap, to consider their appeal and stop targeting journalists who are doing their work.

Mr Tuver Wundi, the Chairperson for the Journaliste en Dange, an umbrella of media practitioners in North Kivu province, told our reporter that they have tried searching for their colleague who went missing on February 25, 2023, but all in vain.

Journalist Byamungu went missing while he was in Goma city, where he had gone to attend the commemoration of the murder of a female journalist in 2013.

Byamungu’s disappearance and prior attacks against his radio, put la Viox de Mikeno on the list of the closed radio stations and consequent loss of jobs of nine employees he had.

The Congolese government Spokesperson, Mr Patrick Muyaya, has pledged to take a deliberate action to protect media practitioners in fragile area.

He told journalists’ leaders that the government appreciates the role of media in state and community development.

According journalists’ leaders, at least 68 journalists lost their jobs in the past six months following the continued advances of the M23 rebels and government forces’ efforts to repulse them.