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Stockholm: Skyline International strongly condemns the reprehensible assault on journalists Louis France Kuzikesa and Will Claes N’lemvo at the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This incident highlights the urgent need for greater protection of journalists and their vital role in fostering open and informed societies.

According to reports, a group of approximately twelve unidentified individuals, dressed in civilian clothing, violently attacked Louis France Kuzikesa, a prominent presenter and general manager of privately owned CML13TV, and Will Claes N’lemvo, a reporter for the privately owned news site Actualité.cd. The assailants repeatedly punched and verbally abused the journalists, leaving them traumatized and shaken.

Mr. N’lemvo, who bravely documented the attack, shared his harrowing experience with Skyline International. He revealed that the attackers identified themselves as members of a Congolese police unit responsible for protecting senior state officials. Their motives were chillingly clear – silencing critical voices and curbing press freedom.

Angela Quintal, Africa program coordinator at Skyline International, expressed deep concern, stating, “This vicious assault on journalists Louis France Kuzikesa and Will Claes N’lemvo underscores the perilous environment in which journalists operate, especially those who courageously challenge power and seek to uncover the truth. Such attacks not only harm the individuals involved but also jeopardize the essential role of journalism in a democratic society.”

Louis France Kuzikesa, known for hosting the thought-provoking political talk show "Libre Opinion" (Free Debate), has since conveyed his apprehension for his safety, choosing not to communicate further with media outlets.

Will Claes N’lemvo, a determined journalist who faced brutality for his commitment to truth, recounted his ordeal. He managed to capture part of the assault on video, which depicted the horrifying incident where they were violently targeted.

Skyline International emphasizes the need for swift and thorough investigations by the authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo into this heinous attack. The perpetrators, reportedly claiming allegiance to a police unit, must be held accountable for their actions, and immediate steps must be taken to ensure the safety and protection of journalists in the region.

Furthermore, Skyline International echoes its call for all stakeholders to uphold the fundamental right to press freedom. Journalists play a vital role in a functioning democracy, serving as a check on power and facilitating open dialogue. As national elections approach on December 20, it is imperative that political figures and their supporters respect and safeguard the rights of journalists to report freely and without fear.

Skyline International remains committed to advocating for the rights of journalists worldwide and condemns any form of violence or intimidation that seeks to stifle the press. The assault on Louis France Kuzikesa and Will Claes N’lemvo is a stark reminder of the challenges faced by journalists, and together, we must strive to create an environment where the truth can be pursued without fear of retribution.