Burundi Journalist Arrested in Congo

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A Burundi journalist is being detained on unknown grounds, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to local reports and the managing director of his radio station.

Egide Mwemero was reportedly arrested in Uvira, eastern Congo, on October 13 along with two Congolese reporters, Manzambi Mupenge and Lucien Kanana. Mupenge and Kanana were reportedly released two days later, but no news has emerged of any release for Burundi journalist, Mwemero.

 

Condemned by the Committee to Protect Journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned the detention of Egide Mwemero, who fled Burundi after the May 13 attempted coup. It’s not clear why the journalist has been arrested or whether he will be charged, but fears for his safety have materialised.

Mwemero works for independent Burundi station, Radio Publique Africaine, which recently partnered with Congolese station, Radio le Messager du Peuple – where the two other reporters work. The two stations had been running a show called Humura Burundi, until they were ordered to cease transmission on October 9.

 

Hostile environment

Congo and Burundi have maintained a strong relationship over the years, even as Burundi slides into greater political and civil unrest. The nations share a similarly hostile environment for journalists who criticise the regime.

The concern is there could be some form of collaboration between the two countries, to detain Mwemero, send him back to Burundi or something more sinister. It has been confirmed the reporter still remains in custody, but no indication of when he might be released has yet been given.

 

Featured image:

Des éléments de l’Unité de police constituée (FPU) et de la Police nationale congolaise (PNC) en patrouille à Goma, province du Nord Kivu, 7 décembre 2011. (6476017279)” by MONUSCO PhotosDes éléments de l’Unité de police constituée (FPU) et de la Police nationale congolaise (PNC) en patrouille à Goma, province du Nord Kivu, 7 décembre 2011.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.