updated 11/10/2007 12:11:54 AM ET 2007-11-10T05:11:54

Authorities in Congo say a government official suspected of ordering up to 17 tons of radioactive waste dumped into a river has been arrested.

The country's Environment Minister declined to identify the person who was arrested because investigations are continuing. He says the waste belonged to a Chinese company, but that the company had not asked for the waste to be dumped in the river.

Authorities have issued calls over local radio stations asking people to avoid using the river to drink or bathe.

The river is not far from a mine that provided the uranium used for the atomic bombs U.S. forces dropped on Japan at the end of World War II. Although the main mine shaft was closed decades ago, uranium is still found in the area and thousands of local diggers have continued working there.

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