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Pro-Ouattara journalists detained

(MFWA/IFEX) - Sanogo Aboubakar and Kangbe Yayoro Charles Lopez, pro-Ouattara journalists with the television station Television Notre Patrie (TVN) in Bouaké, the second largest city in Côte d'Ivoire, have been detained by security forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo since their arrest on January 28, 2011.

The Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that the two journalists were picked up at the airbase of the Liaison Transport Air Group in Abidjan, where they were to board a plane belonging to the United Nations Operations in Côte d'Ivoire (ONUCI) to cover a story at the Golf Hotel, the seat of government of the internationally- recognised president, Alassane Ouattara, in Abidjan.

The correspondent said Aboubakar and Lopez were described in the pro-Gbagbo media as being rebels with the Forces Nouvelles, who control the northern part of the country.

In a statement issued on January 29, the Ivorian Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CIPJ) condemned the arrest and subsequent detention of the two journalists and called for their unconditional release. CIPJ also appealed to the international media to help secure the release of the two journalists.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, J.J Djaha, a reporter for "Le Nouveau Réveil", an Abidjan-based newspaper that supports Ouattara, was arrested and detained overnight on January 24 by police in Daloa, a town about 400 kilometres west of the capital.

MFWA's correspondent in Côte d'Ivoire reported that Djaha, a local correspondent for "Le Nouveau Réveil" who was accused of sending "false news" to his newspaper, was picked up while filing a report to the newspaper at a cyber café.

The correspondent said the journalist was filing a follow-up report to a January 21 story on the death of a student during a police-student confrontation when he was arrested. In the report, Djaha disclosed the name of the policeman who allegedly shot the student. The police claimed that this was false and that the student's death was not related to the confrontation.

"Le Nouveau Réveil" has condemned the arrest and detention of the journalist. In a letter to the National Press Council (CNP), the media regulatory body, the newspaper called the act "a violation of media law and an unacceptable breach of press freedom" and appealed to the CNP to ensure that intimidation against the media by the police is brought to an end.

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