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Journalist in hiding after security agents raid his home

(JED/IFEX) - Jonas Moulenda, a journalist at the weekly "L'Union" newspaper, has been hiding in an embassy in Libreville since 26 September 2009 for fear of being arrested by the special service agents of the Gabonese Armed Forces. Moulenda decided to go into hiding after his home was searched by three plainclothes security officers who refused to show him a search warrant. After the raid, the officers took Moulenda's agenda, which contained his phone and address book and various other documents.

According to information obtained by Journaliste en Danger (JED), a helicopter circled the neighbourhood while agents from the Gabonese Parachute Regiment (Régiment de parachutistes gabonais - RPG), commonly referred to as the "Red Berets", were posted in an alley near Moulenda's home.

Contacted by JED, the journalist confirmed the news and explained that the search was related to a series of reports published in "L'Union" between 20 and 24 September, in which he challenged the official government figure of three deaths during post-election riots in Port-Gentil, the economic capital of Gabon.

Moulenda reported 22 deaths, including bodies taken by the military to unknown locations and the possibility of a mass grave. To support his information, the reports featured photos of the victims' funerals and military bullet casings.

On 25 September, the editor of "L'Union", Albert Yangari, was detained and interrogated by special service agents for publishing Moulenda's "false" reports. Yangari was asked to turn over Moulenda so that he could also be questioned, but he refused.

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