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Voice of America journalist arrested

(JED/IFEX) - On 9 February 2002, National Intelligence Agency (Agence nationale des renseignements, ANR/Katanga) agents arrested Deogratias Simba Mwanangongo in Lubumbashi. The journalist is a Congolese national who lives in Washington (United States) and works for the Voice of America (VOA), according to the organisation Committee to Protect Journalists. A day after his arrest, he was transferred to Kinshasa, where he is currently detained in an ANR cell.

On Wednesday 13 February, in the early afternoon (local time), further to a telephone conversation with an ANR official, JED was able to confirm that Simba is being detained in an ANR cell in Kinshasa. When asked why the journalist was arrested, the ANR official told JED, "this has nothing to do with press freedom." However, the agency official added that the journalist was found to be in possession of unspecified "seditious documents," which justified his arrest.

In a press release issued to media on Wednesday 13 February, the local human rights organisation La Voix des sans Voix (VSV) noted that since his arrest, Simba has been prevented from contacting his relatives. In addition, his younger brother, who was arrested at the same time as the journalist, is still being detained in an ANR detention facility in Lubumbashi.

Simba arrived in Lubumbashi (the capital of Katanga province, in the Democratic Republic of Congo's south-eastern region) on 31 January, via Zambia, for his mother's funeral.

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