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U.S. Diplomat, Pro-Democracy Activists Arrested In Congo

Security forces in Democratic Republic of Congo arrested a U.S. diplomat along with pro-democracy activists, journalists and musicians on Sunday following a news conference in the capital Kinshasa, a government spokesman and witnesses said.

The event was held by activists from Congo, Senegal and Burkina Faso at a cultural center and was attended by around 20 journalists and observers.

Around a dozen soldiers, both in uniform and civilian clothes, entered the hall as the news conference finished and began making arrests, a Reuters witness said, adding that some attendees were assaulted during the raid.

The soldiers also arrested the French owner of the center and more than a dozen musicians waiting outside the hall to perform. In total around 40 people were detained, the witness said.

“Some say that it was a press conference – an exchange between the members of the Burkinabe and Senegalese civil societies and the Congolese civil society,” Information Minister Lambert Mende told Reuters.

“The (intelligence) services believe, however, that it was a project organized by those who identify (themselves) as instructors in insurrection,” he said, confirming the arrests, including that of the diplomat.

The U.S. embassy in Kinshasa declined to immediately comment on the events.


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