afrol News, 3 November - According to information collected by the French media watchdog Reporters sans Frontières (RSF), on 30 October, Kisanga Yenge, the local correspondent for the Congolese weekly "Les Coulisses", was arrested in Kisangani by the Congolese rebels Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie (RCD).
The RCD, an opposition movement that is involved in an armed conflict with the Kinshasa government, is based in Goma, eastern Congo Kinshasa (DRC).
According to information RSF has obtained from Congo, the journalist is accused of publishing an article in which he denounced the misappropriation of textiles by the vice-governor of Kisangani. Yenge is reportedly being held in the city's Department of Security and Intelligence buildings. He has not been allowed any visitors.
In a letter to Azarias Ruberwa Manywa, secretary-general of the Goma-based rebel movement RCD, RSF protested the arrest of Kisanga Yenge, correspondent in Kisangani for the newspaper "Les Coulisses".
RSF asked the RCD authorities to release the journalist and see to it that press freedom is respected in areas under the rebel movement's control.
- Several journalists have previously been arrested by officers of the movement, and journalists' working conditions in eastern Congo are particularly difficult, noted Robert Ménard, the organisation's secretary-general. "The war should not serve as a pretext to systematically quiet the most dissenting voices," the secretary-general added.
In May 2000, "Les Coulisses" publication director Nicaise Kibel Bel Oka was beaten and detained for several days in the Goma area. Since then, the weekly has been based in Béni (about 300 km north of Goma).
RSF recalls that in August 2001, Roberto Garreton, the United Nations' special rapporteur on human rights in Congo Kinshasa, stated that, "In Goma, just as in Kisangani, only one party is authorised, the Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie ... There are no independent newspapers. The columns of [the newspapers] that do publish only contain the rebel movements' propaganda."