Residents suspect the journalist was targeted over a news story done last November. The corpse of a journalist was found in the forest in Northwestern Tanzania on Tuesday, three days after he went missing from his home, the Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, has said.
The CPJ is the New York-based global body which safeguards press freedom. CPJ said the body of Issa Ngumba, 45, a reporter for Radio Kwizera, was found in Kajuhuleta Forest with a gunshot wound in his left arm and evidence that he had been strangled or hanged. It said a handgun was found next to his body along with two mobile phones and 10,000 Tanzanian shillings ($6.25) in his pocket. Mr. Ngumba’s wife, Rukia Yunus, said her husband left their home in the evening on January 5 to go to the town centre and never returned. Regional Police Commander, Fraisser Kashai, said police would begin investigations following the coroner’s report, and the Tanzanian Editor’s Forum also plans to carry out an independent investigation.
CPJ said in a statement that “We send our condolences to the friends and family of Issa Ngumba. Authorities must do their utmost to solve this heinous crime.” According to local reports, residents of the rural Tanzanian region of Kigoma, where Mr. Ngumba was killed, suspect that the reporter may have been targeted for a November story concerning a gruesome attack by a local cattle owner against one of his members of staff. The story, aired on November 24, claimed a local cattle owner had brutally wounded a shepherd under his service.
In September, CPJ documented its first work-related journalist fatality in Tanzania since the organization began keeping detailed records in 1992. Channel Ten reporter, Daudi Mwangosi, who was also chairman of the press club in the southern city of Iringa, was killed on September 2 while covering clashes between police and members of Tanzania’s largest opposition political party, Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema). Authorities have arrested and charged one police constable, 23-year-old Cleophase Pasifious, for the suspected murder of the journalist.