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Provincial governor orders community radio station's closure

(JED/IFEX) - Journaliste en Danger (JED) condemns the unjustified closure of Radio Bandundu FM, a community station broadcasting in the town of Bandundu, capital of the province of the same name, located in western DR Congo. JED demands that the provincial authorities reopen this media outlet without conditions.

According to reports gathered by JED, Radio Bandundu FM was raided on 30 September 2010 by a group of police officers led by Richard Ndambu Wolang, governor of the aforementioned province, who ordered the station's closure until further notice.

The incident followed the airing on 29 September of a progamme called "Découverte" (discovery), hosted by journalist Bienvenu Kapombo. During this show, which focused on "the roles of a provincial member of parliament", one of three guests reportedly expressed agreement with the remarks of a listener who criticised a group of MPs who did not want to sign a motion of distrust against Governor Ndambu.

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"At 6:00 a.m. on 30 September, the provincial governor, accompanied by police officers, came looking for me at the station. After questioning me for a short time, he ordered the arrest of Fidel Mwe, a journalist from our Lingala desk. Mwe remained in the custody of intelligence services (ANR) for five days prior to his 5 October prison transfer. He presently remains incarcerated. I have gone into hiding, fearing for my safety," Kapombo told JED.

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