Police are holding three people, two of them renowned Rwandan journalists, for allegedly blackmailing a Kigali businesswoman, according to a report in The New Times.

The duo; Assouman Niyonambaza, the publisher of a vernacular newspaper, Rugari, and Frank Kalisa of Contact FM, are being held at Muhima police post.

Better known by his audience as 'K', Kalisa hosts a popular Kinyarwanda programme on the Kigali-based radio station.

According to police, Niyonambaza is said to have blackmailed a woman into giving him Rwf 500,000 or else he publishes defamatory stories of her in his newspaper and Kalisa and another person identified as Richard Rutagwenda acted as intermediaries.

The two, together with Rutagwenda were arrested yesterday.

"When the lady was contacted by the suspects, she alerted police and we told her to play along until the money exchanged hands in our presence," said police Spokesperson John Uwamungu in a telephone interview.

He however could not reveal the identity of the lady for her protection; neither could he say the nature of the case that the woman was being blackmailed about.

"Revealing to you the nature of the blackmail case could lead to exposure of the woman," Uwamungu said.

He added that Niyonambaza was arrested at the point where the money exchanged hands while his accomplices were arrested shortly after.

"We have video, photographic and audio evidence against the suspects," said Uwamungu.

This is not the first time a journalist is arrested over extortion.

A few years ago, Jean Gualbert Burasa, the owner of Rushyashya newspaper, was arrested and paraded on national television charged with blackmailing a city businessman.

Asked by reporters why he had stooped so low and soiling the profession, Mr. Burasa retorted; "that is how we survive."

Sources say that during conferences called by senior government officials, some journalists ask tailor-made questions for which they receive payments from concerned parties, usually those who want to bring their cases to the attention of higher authorities.

Click here to read the report, posted on allafrica.com.