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Congolese Newspaper Editor Arrested

April 19, 1998

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) _ A Congolese newspaper editor was arrested Saturday after publishing allegations that a government official kept holding cells at his home where opponents were tortured and killed.

Andre Ipakala, editor and owner of the daily La Reference Plus, was arrested at his house, employees of the newspaper said.

Officials did not comment on the jailing. It came two days after the newspaper printed an accusation by a local human rights group that a government official had a dungeon and burial site at his Kinshasa residence.

The official, Kalonji Mutambayi, is a senior leader of President Laurent Kabila’s former rebel movement

In a letter dated April 5, the group, known as ANADDEM-F, asked the government to ``prevent further abominations from taking place.″ It gave no other details of the allegation.

Several Congolese journalists decried Saturday’s arrest.

Kabila seized control of Congo, formerly Zaire, last May after a rebellion against longtime ruler Mobutu Sese Seko.

Kabila’s rebel forces have been accused of massacring ethnic Hutus from neighboring Rwanda during Kabila’s march westward to the capital, Kinshasa.

Government forces have also been accused of restricting a U.N. investigation into the alleged killings, and the United Nations announced Friday that it was pulling out its investigators.

Responding Saturday to the announcement, a top official with a banned Congolese human rights group said the pullout was disastrous for Congo’s government.

``The government has demonstrated its weakness ... as all the world knows who is responsible for the massacres of refugees,″ said Pascal Kambale, vice president of the Zairian Association for Human Rights. ``It is foolish for the government to go to war against the whole world.″

Kabila has denied his forces targeted refugees.

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