A Congolese reporter and his cameraman were detained in the capital Kinshasa by security forces on Monday, as they were covering the anti-protest march organised by the radical opposition led by Etienne Tshisekedi, according to reports by 7sur7.
Agents of the DEMIAP, a military intelligence special unit controlled by the Presidency, arrested RFO AITV’s Dady Songohozo and John Kikendu in the township of Kauka, and took them into custody for questionning.
The legal NGO ACAJ, Association Congolaise pour l’Accès à la Justice (ACAJ) said the two journalists went through a heavy-handed process of questionning by the military, who continually abused and intimidated them.
ACAJ coordinator Georges Kapiamba has called for their immediate and unconditinoal release. But given the brutality and recklessness of the DEMIAP unit and their inhuman conditions of detention, many observers have expressed serious doubts about their immediate release.
A peaceful march organised by the Rassemblement (anti-dialogue coalition of UDPS, G7 of Moise Katumbi and others) to protest against an eventual third term in office of President Joseph Kabila seems to have turned violent, as hordes of youths fought running battles with heavily armed cops in many impoverished townships of Kinshasa.
The death toll was not available by the time of going to press.
The arrest comes against the backdrop of insults and physical attacks directed to Tom Perriello by an MP of the ruling PPRD. Perriello, who is the special envoy of President Barrack Obama in the Great Lakes region, was attacked on Sunday night inside the VIP waiting room of the Kinshasa airport while he was waiting for an Air France plane to Paris.
The Congolese government has repeatedly accused the US of meddling in its internal affairs. Tension is rising in the DRC ahead of the December 19 cut off date, which marks the end of Kabila rule.
Protesters tired and frustrated by Kabila’s corrupt regime and his desire to stay on beyond his two-term constitutional limit have vowed, under the leadership of the radical opposition, to resort to violence until Kabila flees and the government is brought down.
Sources said security forces and intelligence services are stepping up efforts to arrest any journalist who criticises the regime and sells his country out to international audiences.
Photo A DRC cop lies dead in Kinshasa after he was stoned by angry anti-Kabila protesters