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Held over Militia Interview, Greek-American Journalist Released in Congo

KINSHASA – Greek-American journalist Nicolas Stavros Niarchos – grandson of the late shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos – was released by the intelligence service Agence Nationale de Renseignements (ANR) in the Democratic Republic of Congo after being held for talking to a militia group there.

The Association Congolaise pour l’Accès à la Justice (ACAJ) said that “we welcome the release… of journalist Stavros Niarchos, who fled the DRC for the U.S. But we demand the release of journalist Joseph Kazadi and others detained without visitation rights or counseling,” reported Pandora’s Box.

Witnesses said that Niarchos and Kazadi, who is Congolese, were arrested in Lubumbashi where Niarchos was interviewing men who sources told the Italian site Agenzioanova were identified as Bakata Katanga militia. 

Niarchos, 33, writes for The Nation and The New Yorker and had previously been in the country to produce reports, and the site said the interviews were tied to the country’s mining sector, a specialty for Kazadi.

Sources at Radio France Internationale (RFI) said the journalists were taken to the capital Kinshasha for questioning and that Niarchos had been authorized by the Ministry of Communication to film a series of reports on nature conservation, economy, and culture, and Kazadi was working with him.

“The ANR took the journalist Nicolas Niarchos to Kinshasa to question him about his close contacts with armed groups, especially the Bakata Katanga,” a source not named told Agence France-Presse when he was first being held.

“He undertook moves without first notifying the authorities,” the official continued, arguing that the government “must be vigilant” after the killing of two United Nations officials in 2017, the British newspaper The Guardian reported.

In that incident, the UN had sent investigators Michael Sharpe and Zaida Catalan, a Swedish-Chilean, to probe violence in the region of Kasai where they were kidnapped and murdered.

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