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DW correspondent freed in Burundi

May 23, 2017

Antediteste Niragiri has been released from Burundian police custody. The DW correspondent had been handed over by authorities after spending several days jailed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Amida Issa vom Kiswahili-Programm und Antéditeste Niragira vom Französischen Programm
Niragira (right) seen with another DW correspondent following his releaseImage: DW/M. El Dorado

Niragira was released from Burundian police custody on Tuesday after being arrested by intelligence agents in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) earlier this month.

The correspondent for Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany's international broadcaster, was arrested on May 17 while preparing to report on a refugee camp near the DRC town of Kavimvira. Authorities had accused him of espionage.

Antediteste Niragira
Antediteste Niragira was jailed for several daysImage: DW/M.Dronne

He was released from prison in the DRC on Monday and taken to Burundi, where he was held for another night.

Pierre Nkurikiye, a spokesman for the Burundian police, confirmed on Monday that Niragira was "in good hands," according to a DW press release.

Niragira expresses his gratitude

After giving a statement to Burundi's national media council (CNC) earlier on Tuesday, Niragira was released and reunited with his family members.

"I am very grateful to DW and everyone else working on my release," Niragira told Dirke Koepp, head of DW's French language department. "I have no words to express how grateful I am. I am very happy and relieved."

Though he said that he hadn't been mistreated during his time in captivity, he noted that conditions in the DRC prison were "quite unpleasant" and that he was forced to share cramped quarters with five other inmates. He also said that DRC prison authorities gave him nothing to eat during his time in jail there.