German broadcaster says Burundi reporter held in DRC

2017-05-22 20:02


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Nairobi  - German broadcaster Deutsche Welle on Monday demanded the immediate release of its Burundian correspondent who was arrested last week in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Antediteste Niragira was arrested by Congolese intelligence agents last Wednesday for allegedly "spying" while reporting in the Kavinvara camp which houses Burundian refugees near the border between the two countries, Deutsche Welle said in a statement.

"The accusation that our correspondent is a spy is outrageous and baseless," said Deutsche Welle spokesperson Christoph Jumpelt.

"We demand that the authorities in the DRC release Antediteste Niragira immediately and provide for his safe return to Burundi."

The arrest of Niragira - whose wife is pregnant with his third child - has worried his family who has not been able to speak to him.

"It is reassuring to know where he is and that he is doing well, but we are also very worried because Congolese authorities are refusing to let us speak to him," a member of his family told AFP on condition of anonymity.

More than 400 000 Burundians have fled the country since it was plunged into crisis two years ago when President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a bid for a third term in office.

More than 36 000 of them have sought refuge in the DRC.

The UN estimates at least 500 people have been killed, though NGOs believe that the year-old death toll is an underestimate and the real count could be as many as 2 000 people.

In October 2016, Burundian radio journalist Egide Mwemero was freed after spending nearly a year in detention without trial in the DRC.

He had been arrested a few days after launching a radio station in the DRC after it was banned in Burundi. DRC government officials said it was "a threat to peace in Burundi".

Read more on:    german  |  drc  |  burundi  |  central africa

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