Wednesday, February 19, 2014

DR Congo: RIP Germain Muliwano Kennedy- Journalist.

Radio France International reports:

Congolese journalists targeted by Ugandan rebels

The three journalists affected during the clashes. Germain Muliwano Kennedy is right, with a bandage on head. Photo: Al-Hadji Kudra Maliro.

The Congolese journalist Germain Muliwawo Kennedy died Saturday, Feb. 15, following a clash between the Congolese army and Ugandan rebels of the ADF-Nalu, North Kivu, while on assignment with two colleagues, who were seriously injured them. Germain Muliwawoa Kennedy was hit by a bullet in the head and died of his injuries Sunday morning. One of his colleagues reports.

According to a journalist present at the time of the attack, on Saturday afternoon, a 
FARDC truck (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo) was ambushed by rebels of the ADF-NALU (Allied Democratic Forces - National Army for the Liberation of Uganda) at Semuliki, not far from the Ugandan border.

The ADF-Nalu is a movement born during the 1990s, merging two opposing 
organizations opposing Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Initially consisting of Muslim missionaries from the Tabliq movement, the group became an Islamist movement, which Kinshasa is convinced is supported by Somali Shebab Islamists. They are accused of looting, extortion and kidnappings. The United States has ranked them on the list of terrorist organizations from 2001, while the International Crisis Group considers "a terrorist organization belonging to the Islamist nebula East Africa."

"The rebels had made it their ambition to increase insecurity in the region"

Kudra Maliro Al-Hadji is a journalism student and works including the Radio-TV Muungano.

Germain had gone to report for the Radio-TV Muungano on Saturday and to film the hunt for rebels of the ADF-Nalu by the FARDC. But he was caught in a scuffle and was killed according to a FARDC captain with whom I talked, after there were were violent clashes and the rebels shot tremendously.

Germain was a colleague and a friend. He was someone who deeply loved his work as a journalist, it was a passion for him. And I can tell you he was not afraid to work in dangerous conditions: he is one of the few reporters who had the courage to go to Goma in November 2012, when  M-23 took city ​​. He always said: 'I will die doing my job. And this is what happened ...

He was my editor at Radio-TV Muungano where I began my training as a journalist in 2010. I am indebted to him, he taught me everything patiently. When I arrived, I was a beginner, I did not even know how to write an article, today I am presenting reports and writing for newspapers. All this is thanks to him. I owe him a lot and I will not forget.

As soon as I heard the news of the attack, I went there, and I took a photo of Germain and our two colleagues. They are still in the hospital, one was wounded in the hand. They suffer but they will survive.

In May 2013, I myself was on assignment with the FARDC. Soldiers had captured some rebel ADF-Nalu militants and I was able to conduct an interview. This was rare because obviously, they are impossible to approach. They are extremely shy, any journalist who tried to go to their camp risked being slaughtered on the spot. The rebels had explained that ADF-Nalu had no safe place in Uganda, that's why they moved into the DRC,  where they seek to traffic minerals. He also told us that their goal was to "kidnap helpful people" [ADF-Nalu is particularly suspected of having kidnapped three priests Mbau in 2012, which is has been no news, Ed] and to negotiate ransoms increase instability and climate of tension in the region.

As regular readers will suspect Charly Kasereka made me aware of this story a couple of days ago via Facebook, I unfortunately haven't had time to turn it it into readable English until today. I am sure Charly would be a friend of Germain and Charly doesn't run from dangerous assignments himself, as another Congolese " blogger-journo " Alex Engwete explains.

" Blogger-journo Chaly Kasereka of the blog Actu du Kivu has finally resurfaced in the aftermath of the 12-day occupation of Goma by the M23 outfit of pillagers and mass murderers.

I first saw Kasereka at around midday Tuesday, December 4, commenting on the French news channel France24 on the events at Kibumba--where he was an embed with FARDC troops--and Goma.

Having seen action on the theater of military operation, Kasereka is arguably the first genuine Congolese war reporter."

We owe a great debt to guys like Charly and Germain who risk their lives to keep us informed. RIP Germain. 

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