Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Whistle Boy Update

A little update on the Whistle Boys story from a few blogs ago:

According to a friend who was in Goma at the time, the managers of the organization earned the wrath of journalists when they got arrested in Goma in 2009 by the security services (ANR). Apparently, they were trying to visiting mining sites and demobilization centers without the right papers. They did have press accreditation, however, even though they aren't journalists, and the Congolese official who had issued them accreditation was arrested, as well. Things got complicated (they often do in the Congo) when that official's wife held the accreditation stamp hostage in her house, demanding for her husband to be released. For some reason, the "stamp-hostage" drama continued for over a week, during which foreign journalists couldn't get press accreditation in Goma. A US TV crew reportedly got stuck across the border in Gisenyi because of this.

In the end, the US embassy had to intervene to bail them out of jail.

This was not the only instance of Whistle Boy infamy. During the peace talks in Goma in 2008, one of their leaders tried to rush President Kabila with a camera and almost got beaten down by a presidential guard. Note to journalists: rushing the president in the Congo with anything is rarely a good idea.

2 comments:

Fergus Thomas said...

Ahhh so those are the guys that enjoyed the hospitality of the ANR for a number of days last year.. they just came in on an eight day, entry visa.... At first we thought they were mercenaries, or the CIA until it became that they were too thick for that. I remeber the innoridnate amounts of time the folks at the US Embassy had to spend to get them out. What a fiasco.

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