We are saddened by the death of our colleague, Radio Okapi photographer and video journalist John Bompengo, who passed away on 20 June from complications due to COVID-19. John was a talented photojournalist who covered political developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for decades and worked with Radio Okapi, managed by the UN Mission in D.R. Congo (MONUSCO), since 2011.

Through his photos and videos, John showed the important work for peace in the D.R. Congo every day, at a painfully high cost.

Leila Zerrougui, Head of MONUSCO, spoke of John’s professionalism and impact on the mission, and remembered him as someone who “really embodied the kind of personnel we want to have as part of a peacekeeping mission,” she said. “I hope that one day we will have another brilliant journalist or photographer among his children,” she added.

“John commanded respect, physically and morally,” said Christophe Boulierac, Head of Radio Okapi and Officer-in-Charge of MONUSCO’s Strategic Communications Division. “He was a courageous, reliable and professional worker. I retain from him his accuracy, his frank look and his sense of humour. His departure is a painful shock. We miss him very much.”

We join MONUSCO in offering our condolences to John’s family and pay tribute to his work through the below selected photos of his work.

School children in Kinshasa.
Lessons in a Kinshasa classroom.
Votes are counted during the election of the Bolingani high school student committee in Kinshasa.
School children in the classroom of a Kimbanguist school in Kisangani.
MONUSCO peacekeeper secures a refugee camp in eastern D.R. Congo.
MONUSCO peacekeeper on patrol.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the D.R. Congo and Head of MONUSCO, Leila Zerrougui, inspects a Guard of Honour by the Ghanaian Battalion on arrival at the MONUSCO Headquarters.
Mother and Child Centre of Barumbu, Kinshasa.
Mother and Child Centre of Barumbu, Kinshasa.
Community celebration in Kinshasa.
A woman and her child photographed in a transit camp for demobilized former combatants in Kota-Koli, Equateur province, D.R. Congo.
A fisherman crosses the Congo river by pirogue.
Angolan refugees in Kinshasa begin UNHCR-facilitated voluntary repatriation to their home country.
An aerial view of the town of Gbadolite, in Equateur province, D.R. Congo.
D.R. Congo Independence Day parade in Kindu.
PPRD members gather in Kinshasa in 2015.
Customary chiefs at the Martyrs stadium in Kinshasa.
A former trainee sharing her experience on a MONUSCO-CPAD project with students and faculty of Economic and Development of the Catholic University of Congo.
In Radio Okapi studios, women discuss political affairs in D.R. Congo.
Students participate in the production of Radio Okapi’s Okapi Express programme at the University of Kinshasa campus.


Remembering John Bompengo, photographer and video journalist in D.R. Congo was originally published in We The Peoples on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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