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Clinton Asks About Detained Congolese Human Rights Activist

Officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo say a U.S.-funded human-rights activist is being questioned about his allegations that the government in Kinshasa is trying to sell uranium to North Korea. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked about the case during talks with Congo's president.

Congolese security forces detained Golden Misabiko last month in the southern city of Lubumbashi after the human rights activist published a report questioning the government's deal with the French nuclear power firm Areva.

Misabiko says the contract for uranium exploration should be made public so there can be an assessment of health conditions in areas near the mines.

Misabiko's African Association for the Defense of Human Rights receives grants from the U.S.-based National Endowment for Democracy.

Secretary Clinton asked President Joseph Kabila about the case during talks in the eastern city of Goma.

Congolese Foreign Minister Alexis Thambwe-Mwamba says Misabiko is no longer in detention and is now "at the disposal" of justice officials "seeking clarification" of his statements.

Mwamba says Misabiko is being questioned because he told local and international media the government in Kinshsasa was selling uranium to North Korea. The foreign minister says the danger in what he calls that "misinformation" is that it brings all sorts of organizations to say that he has been imprisoned on ideological reasons. In this case he says these are extremely serious allegations that prosecutors are investigating.

Mwamba defended Kinshasa's human rights record as a rare example in Africa where there is liberty and freedom of the press.

Kinshasha last month suspended broadcasts by Radio France Internationale for developing what Information Minister Lambert Mende called a "systematic campaign to demoralize the armed forces."

RFI broadcast an interview with the spokesman for U.N. peackeepers in eastern Congo who said army deserters were complaining about ethnic conflict and nonpayment of salaries.