Congo says it expelled Reuters journalist over alleged immigration violation

DAKAR, Nov 11 (Reuters) – The Democratic Republic of Congo said it deported a French journalist working for Reuters because she broke immigration rules.

Sonia Rolley received a written summons on Tuesday to report to immigration police in Kinshasa, who she says confiscated her passport and put her on a flight to Paris via Addis Ababa. No reason for the decision was given to her at the time and she was not allowed to collect any personal effects, she said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Congo’s communications and media ministry said Rolley had not followed the required procedure to stay and practice a profession in Congo and was being “reviewed with dignity”.

Foreign journalists in Congo are required to have accreditation from the Ministry of Communications and a “courtesy” work visa.

Rolley applied in September for accreditation to take on a job coordinating Reuters news coverage in Congo. She was granted permission to cover a climate conference in the capital, Kinshasa, in October, pending the application being processed.

On October 24, the day before Rolley’s work visa expired, she received a tourist visa valid for three months while Reuters sought clarification on the status of her application.

At a press conference on Friday, Communications Minister Patrick Muyaya said: “I told him that we would not be able to issue him the accreditation. From that point on, given that his visa would expire, she should have left and maybe appealed.”

Reuters said Rolley received a visa from Congolese authorities as she awaited accreditation to work for the news agency.

“We continue to offer Sonia’s assistance as we seek to resolve the issue. Reuters will continue to report from Congo independently and impartially, as we do around the world,” Reuters said in a statement. communicated.

Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Alexandra Zavis and Rosalba O’Brien

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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