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Community radio director released after four days in custody

(JED/IFEX) - Alpha Manzanza, director of the community radio station Etoile de Bolobo, which broadcasts from Bolobo, north of Bandundu province, was detained for 96 hours from 11 to 16 August 2011 by the local office of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR).

According to information obtained by Journaliste en danger (JED), Manzanza was arrested after he was summoned by Jean Lokani, head of the Bolobo branch of the ANR. Prior to his transfer to the local police holding cell, Manzanza was interrogated about the purchase of his radio transmitter and about administrative documents allowing him to broadcast. The radio station was accused of broadcasting without proper documentation.

Contacted by JED while in custody, Manzanza said that his radio station was given permission to operate by the regional administrator in April 2011 and that the required documents were filed in February 2011, but he is still awaiting a response. "My radio station only broadcasts press releases and hosts request line shows. I do not know how this concerns the the ANR," added Manzanza.

When questioned about his motive for the arrest, Lokani stated that Manzanza, during an episode broadcast on 7 August 2011, declared that, the ANR did not have the power to close down his station or arrest him because he had the support of the foreign press.

JED condemns this clear abuse of power by the head of the ANR.

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