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[] Kongo: Rebellen schließen unabhängiges Radio Maendeleo,

Human Rights Watch

DR Congo: Rebel Authorities Shut Down Radio

(New York, December 13, 2002) ? Rebel authorities in the eastern
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) should immediately lift the ban on
Radio Maendeleo, an independent radio station, Human Rights Watch said

On December 9, security agents of the Rwandan-supported Congolese Rally
for Democracy (RCD) closed down the radio station for an indefinite
period of time and arrested several staff of the radio, including the
director, Kizito Mushizi, and head of operations, Omba Kamengele. They
were detained at the office of the Direction of Security and
Intelligence (DSR) in Bukavu for two days, but have since been released.

?Radio Maendelo plays a key role in providing independent information
about politics and human rights issues,? said Juliane Kippenberg of the
Africa division at Human Rights Watch. ?Radio Maendelo is a space where
citizens can express their views about the peace process in DRC. To shut
it down means to exclude ordinary people further from the peace

The official RCD statement explained the suspension on the basis that
Radio Maendeleo is not supposed to broadcast stories with political
content. However, Radio Maendeleo staff told Human Rights Watch that RCD
authorities reacted angrily in response to a program by Radio Maendeleo
on the recent introduction of RCD license plates for cars, which are
recognized by Rwanda but not by the DRC government.

The eastern parts of DRC are currently administered by the RCD. Until
recently, the area was occupied by the Rwandan army, the RCD?s foreign
ally. Since October, following the signing of a peace agreement between
the Rwandan and Congolese governments, Rwanda has withdrawn most of its
troops, but continues to exert influence via the RCD and local

The radio program interviewed many local residents who said they
rejected the new license plates as a symbol of continued Rwandan

Radio Maendeleo is one of the few independent radio stations in eastern
DRC, and has been closed down by the RCD before, from July 1999 to
August 2001.


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