Two journalists arrested and detained near Kinshasa

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New York, June 26, 2000 — CPJ calls for the immediate release of a BBC journalist and her Congolese assistant who were arrested yesterday by security agents near the Congolese capital, Kinshasa.

Caroline Pare, a London-based BBC television producer, and her assistant, Pierre Mombele, were arrested on Saturday near the suburban home of Jonas Munkamba, the former head of a state-run mining company called MIBA, according to international news reports and CPJ’s sources in the DRC. The two journalists were detained after a routine identification check, which revealed, Congolese officials claimed, that their travel documents were not in order.

After President Laurent-Desiré Kabila’s takeover in May, 1997, the DRC government imposed a travel-pass system, which requires citizens to carry state-approved documentation when they travel outside their home region.

Pare, who is researching a documentary about the late Congolese prime minister Patrice Lumumba, may have wanted to interview Munkamba, a former associate of Lumumba. Munkamba is said to have been aboard the aircraft that flew Lumumba to the southern city of Lubumbashi, where he was assassinated in 1961.

It is unclear where the journalists are being held and whether any charges have been filed against them. CPJ continues to monitor the case.

UPDATE: Caroline Pare and her assistant were released from detention on July 27. She was then banned from the DRC and deported to London, UK.