Press freedom advocates released after detention in Tanzania

Former Nation Journalist Muchoki Mumo

Former Nation Journalist Muchoki Mumo

Late Wednesday, authorities in Tanzania detained two top officials of the United States - based Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ.

After "a very long night"‚ the department of global relations and co-operation on Thursday confirmed that South African journalist Angela Quintal and colleague Muthoki Mumo had been released after being detained by authorities in Tanzania.

"The tweet by @angelaquintal was not sent by her", wrote Quintal's niece Genevieve Quintal, also a journalist.

CPJ believes that their colleagues' electronics might have been compromised since a tweet was sent from Quintal's account stating that they had been released but no one has contacted them directly from the organisation. The officials searched the pair's belongings and would not return their passports when asked, according to Quintal. For now, Quintal and Mumo are well and will stay at their hotel, Mabaya said. "This shows someone is using her account".

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The Tanzanian government spokesman however said that they were arrested because they wanted to establish how the two entered the country.

The Twitter accounts of two have been suspended, leading to confusion whether Ms Mumo and the former Mail & Guardian editor Quintal have been released.

"If they want to engage themselves in anything more than a normal visit then they have to request appropriate permits", spokesperson for Tanzania's immigration ministry Ally Mtanda is quoted to have said.

Since his election three years ago, Tanzania's President John Magufuli has cracked down on independent media, closing down critical newspapers, while rights groups have protested against the imposition of restrictive laws on freedom of expression.

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