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Democratic Republic of Congo7 November 2008

Belgian reporter and assistants safe after being released by Mai-Mai militiamen

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.

In this country
7 May - Democratic Republic of Congo
Government suspends French public radio broadcasts in northeast
15 April - Democratic Republic of Congo
Armed intruders threaten journalist in Nord-Kivu home
8 January - Democratic Republic of Congo
Newspaper editor freed on completing 10-month sentence for insulting president
22 November - Democratic Republic of Congo
A second Radio Okapi journalist gunned down near his home in Bukavu
21 November - Democratic Republic of Congo
Five Raga TV journalists released after being held for 24 hours

in the annual report
Democratic Republic of Congo - Annual Report 2008
Democratic Republic of Congo - Annual report 2006

Africa press releases
3 June - Somalia
Alarm at TV station director’s abduction near Mogadishu
27 May - Gabon
Government imposes news blackout on President Bongo’s health
26 May - Somalia
Radio reporter shot by militia dies of injuries, fourth journalist to be killed this year

africa archives

18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
21 May 2008 - Eritrea
Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
"How far to go ?" Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election

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Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists