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Radio journalists arrested in Bandundu

(JED/IFEX) - Kinshasa, 17 March 2010 - JED is demanding the immediate and unconditional release of two journalists who have been held since last weekend at a prison in Bandundu, western Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), calling the arrest and detention "an intolerable abuse of power by the provincial governor's chief secretary."

Egide Mayeta and Olivier Kibala, station director and reporter, respectively, at Bandundu FM community radio station, were arrested on 13 March 2010 at around 5:00 p.m. by officers from the Bandundu public prosecutor's department. The officers were acting on the orders of Bandundu provincial governor's chief secretary Robert-Désiré Lumbu Matu, who is also president of the board at the radio station.

The two journalists were questioned by a prosecutor over letters they allegedly wrote to Mr. Lumbu Matu in his capacity as president of the board. In the letters, the journalists condemned the pardoning of a former station director who had been suspended for misappropriation of funds. The letters also decried Lumbu Matu's dual role as board president and governor's secretary as a conflict of interest.

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