Al-Jazeera journalists confined to a hotel in Nigeria
27 March, Abuja: Nigerain Military officials have officially confined two Al-Jazeera journalists Ahmed Idris and Mustafa Ali to their hotel room until further notice, since Tuesday, according to Al-Jazeera.
Al-Jazeera, in a statement issued on Wednesday stated that, the two men Idris and Ali were detained in their hotel room after they returned from covering a story on the Nigerian forces fighting Boko Haram in Borno State. “This story was part of Al Jazeera’s special coverage on the Nigerian elections.”
According to reports, after the military officials questioned the men in their hotel rooms their camera equipment were confiscated. “Nigerian authorities and the military should understand that the credibility of the election is dependent in large part on the media, both local and foreign, being allowed to report freely,” said Peter Nkanga, CPJ’s West Africa representative. “We call on the military to release Ahmed Idris and Mustafa Ali from their hotel, return their camera, and allow every journalist the freedom to document the electoral process before, during, and after the vote.”
Nikanga also informed that Ahmed Idris, called CPJ by phone Wednesday saying that on Tuesday morning soldiers told him and his colleague, Mustafa Ali, the cameraman, that they had been given orders to stop the two of them from leaving the hotel. He further stated that foreign journalists visiting the area often stay at Satus Hotel, but he and Ali were the only journalists reporting for a foreign outlet who were there at the time.
“Several journalists, mostly local, have been reporting from Yobe, Borno, and other states in northeastern Nigeria, where military operations against the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram are ongoing, according to several journalists including Abba Karami,” Borno state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, who spoke to CPJ.
Meanwhile, The Nigerian authorities in a statement issued on Tuesday stated that the two men had been found to have been loitering around areas where military operations are ongoing in the North East have been restrained in Maiduguri. According to the them, the journalists, who were noted to have been moving around various locations including restricted areas in Yobe and Borno State were also operating without any protection , accreditation or due clearance.
“They were accordingly monitored by military intelligence operatives until they eventually had to be restrained to their hotel in Maiduguri. This followed the increasing suspicion that their activities were aimed at interfering with the ongoing military operations in the area, : the press statement stated.
The Oslo Times