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DRC: Jeune Afrique correspondent arrested in Kinshasa

By Jeune Afrique

Posted on September 12, 2023 12:07

Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala, correspondent for Jeune Afrique in Kinshasa. (Photo: JA)
Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala, correspondent for Jeune Afrique in Kinshasa. (Photo: JA)

Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala, Jeune Afrique’s correspondent in Kinshasa, has been in custody since in Friday, accused of ‘disseminating false information’.

Kinshasa’s public prosecutor has refused to release Jeune Afrique‘s Kinshasa correspondent, Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala, after three days in police custody.

Tshiamala was at N’Djili Airport preparing for a professional trip to Lubumbashi at around 10.30pm on Friday 8 September when he was arrested by individuals identifying themselves as officers of the judicial police. He was taken to the provincial police station in Kinshasa, and his phones and computer were confiscated.

That night and into Saturday morning, he was questioned by the the commission tasked with investigating the murder of Congolese opposition MP Chérubin Okende.

On Sunday, Tshiamala went before Kinshasa’s public prosecutor, who decided to place him in provisional detention. The allegations against him include ‘spreading false rumours’ and ‘disseminating false information’.

Article not bylined to Tshiamala

The accusations are related to an article published on the website of The Africa Report’s sister publication Jeune Afrique on 31 August. The article, however, does not bear his byline.

The article mentioned a document attributed to the intelligence service, the Agence Nationale de Renseignements (ANC), of which the Congolese authorities contest the authenticity. A few hours after the arrest, Jeune Afrique received a letter signed by the minister of the interior, Peter Kazadi, denouncing ‘false information published based on a report incorrectly attributed to the ANR, claiming to trace the circumstances of Chérubin Okende’s death’.

The letter asserts that Jeune Afrique made use of ‘false information attributed to the ANR’.

We demand his immediate release

The same letter expresses regret ‘that professionally credible media outlets have allowed themselves to be misled to the extent of disseminating a document with false content’. Jeune Afrique reaffirms its full confidence in all its journalists, their commitment to providing accurate and verified information, and their professionalism.

Jeune Afrique continues to demand the immediate release of Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala.

Several Congolese political figures, civil society organisations and diplomatic representations – including those of the US, France, the UK, Belgium, Switzerland and the European Union – have expressed their concern about the situation of Jeune Afrique‘s correspondent.

In solidarity with our sister publication, The Africa Report denounces this serious attack on the freedom of the press and calls for journalists’ rights to be respected.

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