On 6 July 2017, human rights defender Tsongo Sikuliwako Alex was killed outside his home by unidentified armed men believed to be members of the military prosecutor’s office in Kirumba, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Tsongo Sikuliwako Alex was a researcher and founding member of Cercle International pour les Droits de l’Homme, la Paix et l’Environnement – CIDDHOPE (International Circle for Human Rights, Peace and the Environment). CIDDHOPE calls on civil and military authorities to investigate human rights violations, including torture, extortion and arbitrary detention. The human rights defender had also previously been a researcher for Action pour la Liberté et le Développement de la Communauté Locale – ALDECO (Action for Freedom and Development of the Local Community).
On 6 July 2017, at around 8pm, Tsongo Sikuliwako Alex was shot and killed in front of his house by a group of unidentified armed men suspected of being members of the military prosecutor’s office in Kirumba, in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. On 5 July 2017, Tsongo Sikuliwako Alex attended a hearing at the civil judicial authority in order to accompany, and advocate for, a man who had reportedly been the victim of extortion and arbitrary arrest by the military prosecutor’s office.
Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the killing of Tsongo Sikuliwako Alex and regrets that his murder is part of a larger pattern of targeting human rights defenders in the DRC and particularly in North Kivu. Front Line Defenders previously reported on the killing of Alphonse Luanda Kalyamba in 2017 as well as killings of Marcel Tengeneza in Kirumba and Father Vincent Machozi in Butembo in 2016.
Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned about the physical and psychological integrity of Tsongo Sikuliwako Alex’s family as well as of other members of CIDDHOPE and urges authorities in the DRC to ensure their safety and protection.