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Congo Launches Probe into Journalist’s Death

The Democratic Republic of Congo government has launched an investigation into the weekend stabbing death of a journalist.

It accused insurgent groups in the area of carrying out the killing.

Bruno Koko Chirambiza was stabbed to death Saturday allegedly by eight men shortly after attending a friend's wedding.

Chirambiza is a reporter with Radio Star, an independent station in the restive Bukavu district.

So far three journalists have been killed over the last two years in the restive province.

Information minister Lambert Mende said the journalist's killing was premeditated.

"The investigation has started (and) we are waiting in hours to come a first report from the police that will help the justice to start its work," Mende said.

He described as disturbing the killing of the journalist.

"This is really confusing for us because it is clear that those are not simple bandits. Those might have been sent to kill him. We are very eager to hear from police and the justice, what happened exactly to this young man," he said.

Meanwhile, a human rights group, Journalists in Danger (JED), has called on the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUC) to be part of the ongoing investigation into the death of Chirambiza.

But Mende said the government is capable of investigating the killing without MONUC's help.

"We can't forbid MONUC or any other body to help or to make some inquiry on its behalf. But we have a justice apparatus in this country that is working under laws and the constitution and there (are) no laws that can really anybody, MONUC or Journalists in Danger to interfere in the judicial institution," Mende said.

He said Kinshasa is determined to protect the innocent.

"We are working because all our citizens deserve protection from our government. We know that they are victims of terrorists either robbers either some people who are trying to revenge for reasons we don't know. But first we have to make a fact finding actions to know exactly what happened," he said.

Mende said the government is making every effort to restore peace to the restive Kivu province.

For months, the national army has been fighting the rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and other armed groups in eastern Congo. The clashes have often led to the loss of lives and properties as well as displaced thousands from their villages.