New York, October 31, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply troubled by a report that editor Jean-Marie Kanku has been abducted and held for three days by the national intelligence agency (ANR) in Kinshasa. Kanku’s disappearance follows articles in his newspaper L’Alerte that accused ANR boss Lando Lurhakumbirwa of corruption, Journaliste en Danger (JED), a local press freedom organization, said.
JED said in a statement that Kanku was taken from a street in the capital Kinshasa Friday by three armed men in civilian clothes. JED quoted Kanku’s wife and colleagues as saying he was being held by the ANR. Two recent editions of L’Alerte contained an interview with member of parliament Thierry Bongo attacking ANR boss Lando. In one extract quoted by JED, Bongo said that Lando should be imprisoned for “high treason, embezzlement, and gross incompetence.”
“The government must immediately investigate this alarming report,” said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper. “We are deeply concerned for the well-being of our colleague Jean-Marie Kanku.”
L’Alerte is published three times a week although it does not always appear regularly, according to a source at JED. In July, Kanku was imprisoned for two weeks and charged with criminal defamation over an article alleging that a government official had misused humanitarian reconstruction funds. He was released after paying bail, and the case has apparently been dropped.