Mon, 22 Jul 2019

A journalist who was kidnapped three days ago in the Democratic Republic of Congo's restive east has been found in a "very weak" state, his radio station said Friday.

Hassan Murhabazi surfaced on Thursday evening in the city of Bukavu, a statement from his employer, Radio Svein, said.

"He is very weak but he confirms have been kidnapped. The circumstances under which he was found remain unclear and will be released later after medical tests," the statement.

Kidnappings are fairly common in the Sud-Kivu province, whose capital is Bukavu.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Murhabazi went missing after leaving his house on Tuesday following a telephone call from an unknown person. He left his mobile phone at home.

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The previous day, he had received an text message asking him to "stop talking about the presidential candidate of the (government) Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary", RSF said.

Murhabazi had aired a programme on the upcoming election contender on Sunday.

President Joseph Kabila, whose second and final term ended two years ago, has named his former interior minister as his chosen successor in the December 23 ballot and tensions are mounting ahead of the long-delayed poll.

Independent news websites and radio stations have become popular in the DRC, where the traditional press is mostly owned by politicians.

The country holds 154th place out of 180 for press freedom, according to an RSF ranking.

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