A journalist was arrested and “violently beaten” in Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday for covering a meeting of opposition presidential hopeful ,Martin Fayulu.

Rodrigue Ndakazieka, described as a “journalist-technician” with a Kwilu province radio station, in the west of the country, was picked up by police as he left his editorial office on Wednesday, according to the Journalist in Danger (JED) group.

Martin Fayulu

Ndakazieka was “forced into a vehicle” and driven to the home of a local deputy from the majority party “where he was tied up and tortured for many hours before being transferred to Kinshasa in the evening,” said the JED, which is a partner of the Reporters Without Borders group.

A Kinshasa police spokesperson, contacted by AFP, declined to comment but said a response would be given on Friday.

DRC’s troubled journey to elect a successor to President Joseph Kabila hit a fresh snag Thursday, three days before voting was due, as electoral supervisors ordered a week-long postponement after a fire destroyed polling equipment.

The delay marks the latest twist in a two-year-old saga that has plunged the central African country into a political crisis and sparked deadly clashes.

Fayulu, one of two opposition frontrunners, responded that “no delay can be justified,” adding that Kabila and National Election Commission (CENI), Corneille Nangaa would bear “full responsibility for this charade”.

Jean Bosco Diona, head of Radio Mwinda, where the arrested Ndakazieka works, said that the radio station’s facilities were “under siege”.

“We have interrupted all our activities and all journalists have been forced underground as a result of the live broadcast of the Martin Fayulu meeting,” he said.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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