Seven West European journalists, accused of having secret contacts with labels who invaded Shaba Province, are to be displayed in Kinshasa before diplomats and reporters within 48 hours, Zaire Radio said today.
The radio quoted a military security spokesman from the province as sating. "Normally, these people should have been treated as mercenaries and shot immediately. It is a miracle they are still alive."
The radio quoted the spokesman as saying the seven journalists had ben arrested at Mutshatsha after illegally crossing into Shaba province from neighboring Zambia.
"They had addresses of civilians in Shaba Province and the kind of films they were taking were of a subversive nature and constitute an attempt against the security of the state," the spokesman said.
The British, Spanish and West Germany embassies have been seeking information about Colin Smith, the correspondent of the London Sunday newspaper the Observer; a German and a French correspondent for the West German magazine Stern, and four Spanish television reporters - all of whom are said to have entered Shaba illegally from Zambia.
The radio said all the arrested men were without Zaire visas "and it will be up to diplomats and international reporters in Kinshasa to decide whether the nature of their work and films was objective or subversive."
Meanwhile, a Zairian government drive on the rebel-held territory appeared bogged down today, and a Nigerian envoy arrived for talks aimed at ending the fighting.
Nigerian Foreign Minister Joseph Garba arrived from neighboring Angola, from which the rebels launched their attack. He plans to visit Shaba for a meeting with President Mobutu Sese Sebo, the Zairian government news agency reported.