A Cameroonian journalist working in the Republic of Congo was held at gunpoint in his home while armed men sexually assaulted his sister in the early morning hours of Sept. 10, Jeune Afrique reported.
Elie Smith, a journalist for Congo's MNTV, was followed to his home by five men and held at gunpoint while his sister was attacked, he told the French news magazine. His watch, computer and other personal belongings were seized before the men fled.
MNTV is viewed as a pro-government news outlet and is owned by the brother of President Denis Sassou Nguesso. However, MNTV is one of few stations in Congo to cover stories about Congo's opposition parties, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Smith’s coverage of the opposition forces have led some to believe he sympathizes with the opposition.
During the attack Smith told Jeune Afrique that one of the assailants told him: "We kill you like we have killed the others. We will see you again, you the great journalist. It's finished for you."
Smith had recently covered a rally in which several members of the opposition were beaten, and posted a photo of a bleeding activist to Facebook. Smith told CPJ that the attack may have been retaliation for the photo.
Political tension in the Republic of Congo has been rising after Nguesso, who has ruled the country for 30 of the last 35 years, called for a referendum to change the constitution to allow him to remain in power after 2016.