Skyline International Advocates for Accountability in Attack on Journalist Soleil Ntumba Mufike in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Skyline International, an independent news organization dedicated to defending press freedom, strongly urges the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to take decisive action in holding accountable the immigration officers responsible for the assault on journalist Soleil Ntumba Mufike and the destruction of his camera.
The incident unfolded as Ntumba was documenting the court-ordered eviction of the family of the deputy director of the national agency, Direction General of Migration, in Kananga, the provincial capital. According to both news reports and Ntumba's firsthand account, Luhizon Zigabe, the director of the agency, allegedly directed approximately 10 immigration officers to prevent the journalist from recording.
Soleil Ntumba Mufike, who serves as the information director for the privately-owned Kananga-based broadcaster Malandji and acts as a correspondent for the privately-owned Kinshasa-based TV broadcaster B One, was the sole journalist present at the scene. He reported that following Luhizon's orders, the immigration officers forcibly seized him, physically assaulted him, and forcibly threw him to the ground.
Fortunately, police officers overseeing the eviction intervened to put an end to the attack. Regrettably, during the altercation, Ntumba's camera was damaged, and he lost his microphone. It is important to note that Ntumba himself escaped the incident without physical injury.
Skyline International’s Africa program coordinator in Durban, South Africa, has stated, "DRC authorities should hold accountable those responsible for assaulting journalist Soleil Ntumba Mufike and breaking his camera. Government officials in the DRC should prioritize the safety of journalists."
In response to the allegations, Luhizon denied any involvement in ordering the immigration officers to attack Ntumba. Instead, he claimed that he had merely asked the journalist to leave the scene
Despite our efforts to contact Léon Bassa, the provincial police commissioner of Kasai Central, our calls remained unanswered.
Skyline International reiterates its call for a thorough investigation into this disturbing incident and urges the DRC government to take immediate action to ensure the safety and protection of journalists. Freedom of the press is a fundamental pillar of any democratic society, and it is imperative that such incidents are met with accountability and justice.