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DRC buries slain 'knight of peace'
BUKAVU, DR Congo - Hundreds turned out today to pay final respects to a Congolese journalist described as a "knight of peace" who was shot dead last week in the country's troubled east.
Didace Namujimbo, 34, was shot by unknown assailants on Friday night near his home in Bukavu, the capital of Sud-Kivu province. He had worked for United Nations (UN)-sponsored Radio Okapi.
According to initial reports he was shot in the neck at point blank range minutes after being dropped near his home by a vehicle belonging to Monuc, the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
His funeral drew as many as 500 people and was preceded by a smaller UN-sponsored ceremony at Monuc's headquarters in Bukavu.
"Didace was a knight of peace. His colleagues...should continue always to hold higher the torch of Radio Okapi," said Alpha Sow, Monuc co-ordinator for eastern Congo.
The killing of Namujimbo came 17 months after another Radio Okapi journalist, Serge Maheshe, was killed in similar circumstances in Bukavu.
Sow made an impassioned plead for justice to be done.
"This new tragedy which strikes Monuc and all of Congo, with the death of Serge and now Didace, reminds us of the extent to which security remains the major challenge to be overcome," he said.
"We are calling on both the civilian and military authorities to do everything possible to make sure the perpetrators of the crime are rapidly found and that, this time, they are punished."
The UN said on Saturday that prosecutors had launched an inquiry into the killing of Namujimbo, although there have yet been no indications as to the motive or those responsible.
The Monuc ceremony began with the UN anthem and concluded with the Congolese national anthem and was punctuated by several speeches.
The funeral cortege then wound its way to Bukavu's cathedral for the main service where around 500 people were gathered.
Namujimbo was to be laid to rest later today at a cemetery on the outskirts of Bukavu where Maheshe was also buried.
Three people, all civilians, were sentenced to death by a military tribunal in Bukavu in May 2008 for the murder of Maheshe. The trial process was strongly criticised by observers.
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