World Federation of Science Journalists

WFSJ Mentee shot at in Kinshasa

June 22, 2007

Journalist Anne-Marie Kalanga and her young brother shot in the legs.

by David Ilunga* and Christina Scott*

(Kinshasa) – The journalist and presenter of TV program ‘Karibu Environnement’ -- aired on public national Congolese RTNC (Radio Télévision Nationale Congolaise) --, and mentee in the WFSJ mentoring program, Anne-Marie Kalanga, and her young brother Papy Kabemba, have been attacked by three armed men at their home in the Binza Delvaux area of Kinshasa, during the night of Saturday 16 to Sunday 17 June 2007. The gunmen fired several shots on their right legs and left everything untouched in their home.

Anne-Marie thanked divine intervention particularly for her young brother whose injuries seem worse. Though still assigned to her bed, she assured that her health is fine. On Monday, she was visited by a delegation from RTNC as well as by Mr. William Swing, special representative of the UN Secretary General in République démocratique du Congo (RDC). Mr. Swing provided reassuring words and wished her a fast recovery.

Interviewed in her room at Clinique Ngaliema, Anne-Marie said: “Since I live on an unfenced lot, my younger brother, who lives with me, went out to relieve himself around 3:00 a.m. He faced individuals dressed as policemen who asked him to enter. On his way back in the house, he tried to close the door on these threatening visitors, but the policemen pushed. I tried to help my brother. One of the policemen fired a first shot at my leg and I fell to the floor. He then shot a second and third time on Papy’s leg who also fell down. Finally, they entered the house but then left without taking anything, probably because both of us were shouting so loud” It is only two hours later, around 5:00 a.m., that police arrived to bring them to the local clinic.

Anne-Marie Kalange in Nairobi, November 2006

The Congolese Media Observatory (Observatoire des médias congolais, OMEC) strongly protested the ‘murder attempt’ on Anne-Marie Kalanga, in a news release.

This incident follows on the assassination of Congolese journalist Serge Maheshe, employed at UN sponsored radio Okapi, who was killed in Bukavu, capital of the South Kivu region, by two individuals dressed in civilian clothes, just as he was stepping in his United Nations vehicle.

The RDC minister of information and national communication, Toussaint Tshilombo, went to Kalanga's clinic bedside to console her, declaring his shock at this barbaric aggression. "My reaction is anger and desolation. The desolation is because two days ago we buried Serge Maheshe of Radio Okapi in Bukavu.''

Toussaint Tshilombo told the newspaper The Potential, ''We cannot rebuild this country and develop without peace and security. That is our mission. I must assure you that the government takes this very seriously.''

*Anne-Marie Kalanga and David Ilunga are both mentees in the mentoring program of the World Federation of Science Journalists. David writes for Kinshasa newspaper Le Révélateur. Christina Scott, a South African freelancer, is a mentor in the WFSJ program, whose French-speaking component is coordinated by Professor Gervais Mbarga of the University of Yaoundé, in Cameroon.

Anne-Marie Kalanga also coordinates Media for Environment, Science and Tourism (MEST), a network of specialist journalists which campaigns to preserve RDC’s ecosystems and encourage the sustainable management of resources.