Journalist Fabien Fortune Bitoumbo Murdered in Congo

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September 8, 1997


President Denis Sassou Nguesso
Presidential Palace
Brazzaville, Congo

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) writes to most strongly condemn the murder of Fabien Fortune Bitoumbo, journalist for Radio Liberté, by members of Bernard Kolelas's militia group, the Ninjas.

CPJ is appalled by the killing of this journalist, who was seeking only to report the news. On August 29, 1998, Bitoumbo was on assignment accompanying the Minister of Mining and Industry, Michel Mampouya, when he was taken hostage along with his companions. After he was taken hostage, he was shot at close range.

As a nonpartisan organization of journalists committed to the defense of our colleagues worldwide, CPJ most strongly condemns the murder of Bitoumbo. Those who vioated Bitoumbo's human right to life have also attacked the right of all journalists to "seek receive and impart information and ideas of all kind," guarenteed by Article 19 of the International Covenent on Civil and Political Rights. Journalists, along with all other noncombatants, are neutral parties to conflict.

We strongly urge Your Excellency to ensure that an immediate and thorough investigation into the circumstances of Bitoumbo's death is carried out, and that those responsible be brought to justice.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We welcome your comments.

 

Sincerely,

Ann K. Cooper

Executive Director



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President Denis Sassou Nguesso
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Brazzaville, Congo

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