Al-Jazeera demands release of Nigerian journalists

Australian Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste was freed earlier this year. The Qatari news outlet is now calling for two reporters detained in Nigeria to be set free.
Australian Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste was freed earlier this year. The Qatari news outlet is now calling for two reporters detained in Nigeria to be set free. David Stuart

QATARI broadcaster Al Jazeera has demanded the release of two of their Nigerian journalists who were detained in Maiduguri on Tuesday morning.

Nigerian forces detained Ahmed Idris and producer Ali Mustafa in a hotel after the journalists returned from covering a story on the Nigerian forces fighting Boko Haram in Borno State.

The story was part of Al Jazeera's special coverage on the Nigerian elections.

Both men have been kept in their hotel rooms and are officially detained until further notice.

Their camera equipment is also confiscated.

It is not the first time Al Jazeera reporters have been held while working in developing countries.

Australian Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste was freed from an Egyptian prison earlier this year, after being arrested on false accusations of consorting with terrorists.

MORE: Greste says prison was a 'rebirth' and 'near-death experience'

An Al Jazeera spokesperson called on Nigerian authorities to release the men without conditions and return their equipment in a press release this morning.

"They have all the relevant paperwork to report on the Nigerian elections and stories related to the election. Both men had just finished filming a story on the military with their cooperation," the spokesperson said.

"Both men are accredited and respected Nigerian journalists.

"As Nigerian citizens they are allowed to travel their country freely."

According to a reported military statement, both men were questioned and restrained in their room because they were operating without "protection, accreditation or due clearance" - despite having just completed filming with the cooperation of the military.

The statement gave a reminder about warnings given to "foreign" journalists, but both Mr Idris and Mr Mustafa are Nigerian nationals.

Both Mr Ahmed and Mr Mustafa are officially accredited by the Independent Electoral Commission in Abuja with the clearance to report from anywhere in Nigeria during the entire election period.

Mr Idris has rich experience reporting in northern Nigeria, and last year he was the first international journalist to reach Chibok and interview families affected by the mass kidnap of schoolgirls by Boko Haram.

Al Jazeera's Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustafa are part of four Al Jazeera English teams reporting on the election in Africa's most populous country and largest economy.


Topics:  al jazeera journalist nigeria peter greste

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