Burundi: UK, French Journalists Released Without Charge

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A British photojournalist and French reporter have been released by Burundi authorities one day after they were arrested in the capital Bujumbura.

The pair were arrested by Burundi security forces on Thursday after meeting with opposition activists. It later emerged the journalists were among 17 people detained in a police operation earlier that day.

 

Released without charge

Jean Philippe Remy, who reports for Le Monde, and British photojournalist Phil Moore were released without charge on Friday. International bodies, including the European Union, the Foreign Correspondents Association of East Africa (FCAEA) and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office publically expressed their concern over the arrests.

Moore is a regular contributor to Agence France-Presse and the French publication was quick to defend both of the journalists following their arrests.

“There is no justification for the arrest of these two experienced reporters who are widely respected in the profession,” AFP chairman Emmanuel Hoogsaid said in a statement.

Le Monde also confirmed Remi and Moore had valid visas and were simply carrying out their journalistic duties by meeting with both parties involved in a story they were covering.

 

Conflict in Burundi

The pair were arrested ahead of an African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia on Sunday, where the political situation in Burundi will be high on the agenda. The AU recently proposed the deployment of 5,000 peacekeeper troops in Burundi – a prospect the country’s government rejected as an act of war.

Moore has been a regular figure in reporting on the conflict in Burundi since violence broke out in April.

“I’ve been able to look at these other issues that underpin the problems the country is going through right now,” he said in a TIME interview. “It’s quite an important story not just because of what happening in Burundi, but also for what it means for the region.”

 

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By KALOU KAKA – Kalou Kaka, GFDL, $3