DRC: Three journalists arrested in a radio raid by agents of intelligence service.

A group of military men from information services popularly known as « Bureau 2 » interrupted, Tuesday October 13, 2015 around2:00pm, the installation of “ Radio le Messager du Peuple”, a private radio station transmitting from Uvira, a town situated 128m from Bakavu, capital of South-Kivu (East of DRC). At least 3 persons, two of them Congolese journalists and a technician from Burundi were brutally arrested in the said attack. They are: Mazambi Mupenye and Lucien Kanana (both Congolese) and a certain man identified only as Egide, a technician with Burundi-based Radio Publique Africaine RPA, who is on a working mission in Uvira, were all forcibly transported to the premises of the military intelligence service where they were held prisoners.

According to information gathered by JED, the Congolese services accused “Radio le Messager du Peuple” of frequently broadcasting a political magazine recorded in Bujumbura entitled “Humura Burundi” (which means in Kirundi: Burundi be peaceful), produced by Radio Publique Africaine, a major Burundian radio station banned from broadcasting since April 27 2015, by Burundian authorities in the wake of political tensions during the elections in the country.

Questioned by JED regarding the existing relation between this Congolese media house and the Burundian radio station, Mutere Kifara, director of Radio Le Messager du Peuple, stated that: “Our media signed a partnership agreement with Radio Publique Africaine for dissemination its political magazine “Humura Burundi”. Radio Le Messager du Peuple also receives signal in Burundi. This programme was broadcast on our airwaves everyday at 19:00. On Wednesday October 7, 2015, I received a call from an officer from National Intelligence Agency who wanted to know the broadcast hours of this magazine. The following day, a few minutes before the broadcast of the programme, our transmission signal was scrambled. We were forced to stop the broadcast of this programme on Friday (October 9, 2015, ndlr) after we met a police officer who informed us that locale the authorities were against the broadcast of this Burundian programme from Uvira”.

JED strongly condemns this unwarranted attack by the security service on the media and demands immediate release of these three journalists who were arbitrarily arrested at their place of work by persons who have neither the power nor the mandate to sanction the content of a radio programme.