Mayi-Mayi militiamen released on Thursday five local reporters they had taken hostage earlier this week in the Democratic Republic of Congo's southern province of Katanga.
"They were released five days after [their seizure) in exchange of 270 bicycles that the Mayi-Mayi stole from MONUC," Alexandre Essome, a spokesman for the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC), said on Friday.
He said the militiamen had seized the reporters in protest at the arrest of their leader, Mbayo Mpiana Mwana Butot, alias Chinja Chinja.
MONUC said the bicycles were supposed to have been exchanged for guns but that operation was suspended after the reporters, covering the exchange, were seized.
It is not immediately clear whether or not, in addition to the release of the reporters, the militiamen gave up their weapons.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
Hundreds of thousands of readers trust The New Humanitarian each month for quality journalism that contributes to more effective, accountable, and inclusive ways to improve the lives of people affected by crises.
Our award-winning stories inform policymakers and humanitarians, demand accountability and transparency from those meant to help people in need, and provide a platform for conversation and discussion with and among affected and marginalised people.
We’re able to continue doing this thanks to the support of our donors and readers like you who believe in the power of independent journalism. These contributions help keep our journalism free and accessible to all.
Show your support as we build the future of news media by becoming a member of The New Humanitarian.