Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that Belgian journalist Thomas Scheen was freed this morning and that, together with his Congolese interpreter and driver, is now being protected by the UN Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC). His release was announced by his newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Scheen, a German-speaker who is his newspaper’s Africa correspondent, had been held in Virunga National Park, in the eastern province of Nord-Kivu, after being kidnapped by a small group of pro-government Mai-Mai militiamen on 4 November.
Reporters Without Borders has also learned that, contrary to reports, journalist Alfred Bitwahiki Nzonzo of Ushirika Community Radio (RACOU), a station based in the Nord-Kivu town of Kiwanja, was not killed when the town was taken by members of rebel general Laurent Nkunda’s National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP).
Several fellow journalists have managed to talk to him by telephone. He is safe and a long way from where the fighting is taking place.