The Democratic Republic of Congo’s intelligence service has detained American journalist Stavros Nicolas Niarchos after he allegedly approached armed groups in the country’s southeast, a senior government official said on Sunday.
Local civil society groups such as RECN, quoted in local media, said that Niarchos and a Congolese journalist were arrested on Wednesday in the southeastern city of Lubumbashi and taken to the capital, Kinshasa.
A senior government official who requested anonymity confirmed to AFP on Sunday that the Congolese intelligence agency ANR is holding Niarchos in Kinshasa.
The 33-year-old journalist, who writes for American magazines. The nation Y the new yorkerhad contacted armed groups, including the Bakata Katanga militia, the official said.
“He made movements that were never reported to the authorities before,” explained the official, who pointed out that the government “must be vigilant” after the murder of two United Nations experts in 2017.
The UN had hired the American experts Michael Sharp and the Swedish-Chilean Zaida Catalan to investigate the violence in the Kasai region, in the center of the DRC, where they were kidnapped and killed.
“The Congolese authorities have no interest in holding an American journalist,” the senior government official said, adding that he could be released on Tuesday.
Niarchos traveled to the DRC to report on nature conservation, economy and culture to The nation magazine, according to the journalist’s official accreditation seen by AFP.
Neither The nation nor was the US embassy in Kinshasa immediately available for comment.