Congolese Officials Release Seven Christian Radio Station Employees

Seven employees of Radio Hosanna released after a three-day arrest
( [email protected] ) Aug 19, 2004 10:58 AM EDT

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo released seven employees of Radio Hosanna, an evangelical radio station in the southern city of Lubumbashi, on Saturday, Aug. 7. However, they refused to let the station resume operations since shutting it down three days earlier.

On Wednesday, Aug. 4, national intelligence agents and police officers raided the station and confiscated the equipment, including the transmitter, and arrested four of the station's journalists, two technicians and a security guard. The raid stemmed from the rebroadcast of a sermon by Albert Lukusa, pastor of the Nouvelle Cité de David (New City of David) Church which owns Radio Hosanna.

During his sermon, Lukusa criticized the government, alleging that it is corrupt and has mismanaged the country's economy, reported the local press freedom organization Journaliste en Danger. Lukusa, who was arrested by members of the National Intelligence Agency on Aug. 3, remains in detention in Lubumbashi. Authorities accused the pastor of insulting the head of state and "inciting people to revolt against national authorities." The raid took place after station employees announced Lukusa's detention on-air, rebroadcast his sermon and invited listeners to call in to express their opinions.