German international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW), has demanded the immediate release of its reporter who is being held by the authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
According to DW, Antediteste Niragira, was arrested by operatives of the Congolese intelligence service (ANR) while he was reporting on Burundian refugees in the DRC. The reporter is currently being held in a prison in the town of Uvira.
A DW spokesman, Christoph Jumpelt, described as ‘baseless and outrageous,’ accusations by the authorities that the journalist was being held on charges of espionage.
We demand that the authorities in the DR Congo release Antediteste Niragira immediately and provide for his safe return to Burundi.
“The accusation that our correspondent is a spy is outrageous and baseless,” he said. DW said it was also concerned that the authorities were refusing to provide any proof to back the allegations.
“We demand that the authorities in the DR Congo release Antediteste Niragira immediately and provide for his safe return to Burundi,” he added.
The channel however confirmed through a legal representative it commissioned that the journalist had not been physically harmed. Niragira was preparing to file a report on the deplorable conditions in which Burundian refugees were living in a camp near the town of Kavimvira.
Burundian nationals have been fleeing political tensions in their country following sporadic gun battles and grenade attacks. The country continues to experience serious political crisis which started since April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza presented himself as a candidate for a third controversial mandate. He was subsequently re-elected in July of the same year.
The violence has already claimed 500 to 2,000 lives, according to United Nations and other Non-Governmental Organizations. Hundreds of cases of enforced disappearances and torture have forced more than 400,000 Burundians into exile.
Photo credit: DW/M.Dronne