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Two journalists held by Kano state police released

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders hails the release of two journalists who were arrested by the Kano state police in connection with reports about Kano's governor. Both were freed on the evening of 3 July 2009.

Tukur Mamu, editor of the Kaduna-based "Desert Herald" weekly, was arrested on 2 July in Kaduna by police from the northern state of Kano and immediately taken to the headquarters of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in the federal capital, Abuja.

Alhaji Ado Mohamed, of the Kano-based Freedom Radio, was arrested on 26 June.

Several sources separately reported that Mamu's arrest was ordered by Kano state governor Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau; Shekarau denied this at a news conference on 3 July.

Mamu's lawyer, Idriss Mamu, went to CID headquarters in Abuja on 6 July to enquire after his client, who had been in hiding for a week after getting phone calls warning that Kano's governor would "personally take care of (him)" if he continued to publish articles that "harm the government's interests."

The warnings came after Mamu ran a story about the fatal shooting of Sheikh Ja'afar Mahmoud Adam, a teacher in Koranic studies, in April 2007 in Dorayi. There is speculation the governor may have been involved in the murder.

Mohamed, executive vice-chairman of Kano-based Freedom Radio, was arrested by nine policemen on 26 June after writing about the same murder for the Saharareporters website. Idriss Mamu told Reporters Without Borders that Mohamed has just been hospitalised from the effects of a week in detention on his health.

Reporters Without Borders cited the cases of Mamu and Mohamed in a 1 July letter to President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua about the threats to journalists in Nigeria.

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