On 17 March 2016 Evariste Kasali Mbogo was having his evening meal with his family when there was a knock on the front door. Three armed men disguised as members of the Congolese National Police forced their way in to the family home and began shooting indiscriminately. Kasali was shot multiple times in the head, stomach and legs. The attackers checked to make sure he was dead before fleeing the scene. He leaves behind his wife Justine M’Luhubira and nine children.
Kasali was born in Luhihi in 1957 and studied economics at the University of Lubumbashi. He was passionately committed to the cause of human rights throughout his life. Kasali worked for New Dynamics of Civil Society in the DRC – a human rights organisation – where he documented killings and published reports on violations of human rights in the Kabare region.
A particular focus of his reporting was, Mr Frédéric Batumike, a provincial MP and commander of a brutal local militia called Jesus’ Army. In 2012 he had documented the murder of Walter Muller, a local land owner, who owned plantations which Batumike desired. Despite multiple threats and being forced to move house for security Kasali continued to document the atrocities committed by the militia. Specifically the kidnapping and rape of over 48 young girls by members of the militia who believed that doing so would grant them supernatural protection.
In the wake of Kasali’s murder, human rights activists and journalists raised awareness at the national level in order to seek justice. This ultimately lead to the arrest and sentencing of Batumike and 10 others to life in prison.