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Democratic Republic of Congo13 March 2002

RSF protests detention of two journalists in rebel-held zones

In letters to Adolphe Onusumba Yemba, president of the Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie (RCD), and Mbusa Nyamwisi, president of the Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie - Mouvement de libération (RCD - ML), RSF protested the detention of two journalists. The organisation urged the rebel movement leaders to take all necessary measures to release both journalists. "These groups, which often state that their goal is a united and peaceful country, should lead by example in terms of respect for press freedom," stated Robert Ménard, the organisation’s secretary-general. RSF recalled that several journalists were arrested or assaulted in zones controlled by both branches of the RCD in 2001.

According to information collected by RSF, Raphaël Paluku Kyana, director of Radio rurale de Kanyabayonga (RRKA) radio station, was arrested in Goma (in North-Kivu province, near the Rwandan border) on 9 March 2002. The journalist was arrested by RCD agents while on his way to Mbujimayi (in government-controlled territory) to attend a meeting of the Congolese Community Radio Stations’ Association (Association des radios communautaires du Congo). He is reportedly being detained in Goma’s Bureau II prison. The motive for his arrest is unknown.

Two days earlier, Radio Muungano director Wema Kennedy was arrested in Béni (in North-Kivu province, near the Ugandan border) by RCD - ML intelligence services agents. He is reportedly accused of announcing on the air that the president of the rebel movement was still in Kampala when the inter-Congolese working meetings opened in Sun City, South Africa.

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