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Newspaper journalist detained by intelligence agency

(RSF/IFEX) - 11 October 2010 - Reporters Without Borders wrote on 8 October 2010 to interior minister Adolphe Lumanu Mulenda Bwana N'Sefu (who is also deputy prime minister) voicing concern about newspaper journalist Tumba Lumembu, who has been held incommunicado by the authorities for the past three weeks, and asking why he was arrested.

Lumembu, who works for the newspaper La Tempête des Tropiques, went missing on 15 September. Pressed by the Human Rights Division of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) finally admitted after nearly two weeks that it was holding the journalist.

With the reason for his arrest still unknown, human rights organisations and his colleagues at La Tempête des Tropiques continue to be very concerned about his fate. Reporters Without Borders is outraged by his arbitrary detention and urges the authorities to either bring charges against him or release him without delay.

The ANR is in the habit of carrying out arbitrary arrests and heavy-handed interrogations, and holding people incommunicado. For this reason, Reporters Without Borders considered adding it to its list of "Predators of Press Freedom" last May.

On 7 October, another journalist was arrested by three ANR officials in Oïcha, a town near the city of Béni in the eastern province of Nord-Kivu. It was Kasereka Taipa, who works for radio Moto Oïcha, a local station, and is a correspondent for radio Victoire Horizon, a station based in the nearby city of Butembo. In a report for Victoire Horizon, he had accused the ANR of levying a 20 dollar tax on anyone wanting to build a permanent structure. After being held at the ANR office in Oïcha, he was taken to the ANR regional headquarters in Béni.

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