The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo to release Noëlla Mwambikwa, a journalist with Congolese National Radio and Television station (RTNC), who has been detained since her arrest by army intelligence on Tuesday for alleged links with a rebel leader.
“We condemn the illegal detention of Noëlla and the continuing harassment of media professionals in DRC,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. “We call on the Goma and Kinshasa military authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally.”
Noëlla Mwambikwa was arrested by officers of the military intelligence service on Tuesday afternoon at the airport of Goma in eastern DRC while she was going to visit her family. According to the National Trade Union of the Professionals of the Press (SNPP) of DRC the journalist has not yet been interrogated nor informed of the reason for her arrest.
“We have been trying in vain to talk to the Goma army commander who ordered the arrest to know more about the situation. We were told that he is in the field because of the unrest in the region,” said Stanis Nkundiye, Secretary General of the SNPP.
Local sources say that Mwambikwa was arrested for an alleged link with General Laurent Nkunda, a rebel leader who has been fighting the government in the eastern part of the country. In the last two weeks heavy fighting has erupted between Nkunda’s men and the army.
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The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries worldwide