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DRC female journalist released after 4 days in detention

Adèle Uvon, a DR Congo journalist working for local broadcaster RTVL based in Bunia, was released on Monday after spending four days in detention, UN-funded Radio Okapi said this week.

Bunia, located some 2 000 km north-east of the capital Kinshasa, is the provincial capital of Ituri, near the Ugandan border.

Uvon, who was covering an event organised last week Thursday by LUCHA, was arrested by cops along with five members of this civil society youth movement.

LUCHA (Lutte pour le Changement, Fighting for Change) was launching the Bye Bye Kabila Campaign to create awareness about President Joseph Kabila’s constitutional two-term in office that ends on December 19. The event did not take place as cops brutally dispersed the protestors and made some arrests.

Radio Okapi said that a few hours before Uvon’s release, about 50 journalists staged a sit-in in front of the court where the journalist was due to appear. Many observers believe Uvon was singled out because she works for a private broadcaster.

Police, the ANR (intelligence services) and hitmen hired by the Congolese government seem to have flexed their muscles to defend Kabila’s embattled regime from any sort of criticism.

Another broadcast journalist was shot dead two weeks ago in the central city of Mbuji Mayi while he was asleep in his house in the middle of the night.

Journalist en Danger (JED), a local media watchdog, reported in early November that at least 87 cases of media freedom violations have been registered this year in the DRC.

The latest cases include the security forces’ attacks on radio stations in Baraka (South Kivu), and the arrest of a Muungano radio correspondent and a Baraka radio journalist from Baraka.

Tension seems to be rising every day in this vast troubled Central African nation and the UN has warned that violence might escalate if Kabila refuses to step down on December 19.

Photo: Military trucks drive through the Lumumba Boulevard in the capital Kinshasa on their way to quell anti-Kabila protests. John Bompengo/AP

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