On Wednesday, October 17, Reporters Without Borders have called on Congolese authorities to release a journalist working for a local newspaper after she was arrested in Kinshasa on October 10, on defamation charges.
Furthermore, another local journalist was kidnapped on October 13, in the Ruzizi area of the South-Kivu province (northeast). The armed men reportedly asked for a USD 1200 payment for his release.
Intimidations and aggressions against journalists occur regularly in the DRC, a country which ranked 154 out of 180 countries on the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
Kidnap for ransom is a significant threat in the eastern provinces of the DRC. There has been a growing number of attacks caused by the state's limited presence in the area and the existence of numerous armed groups and local self-defense militias (Maï-Maï militias).
Individuals present in the DRC are advised to exercise caution and maintain a low profile at all times. For these and other security reasons, a number of Western governments advise their citizens against travel to the east and northeast of the country, as well as to the three central Kasaï provinces, due to poor security conditions, including the presence of armed groups and a high risk of kidnapping. Professional security advice should be sought prior to travel.