Al Jazeera journalists held in Nigeria after Boko Harem reports

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 27 March 2015

Two journalists working for Al Jazeera have been detained in Maiduguri by Nigerian forces since 24 March, according to the Qatar-based news network.

unnamed-2Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustafa have been kept captive in their hotel room after covering a story on the Nigerian forces fighting Boko Haram in Borno State, as part of the broadcaster's broader election coverage.

The men both Nigerian nationals were questioned and restrained in their room because, said the military, they were "loitering" and operating without "protection, accreditation or due clearance".

Al Jazeera disputes these claims, saying the journalists are officially accredited by the Independent Electoral Commission in Abuja, and cleared to report from anywhere in Nigeria during the current election period.

"Both men had just finished filming a story on the military with their cooperation. They were not 'loitering', but were in the hotel room and had only passed through the restricted areas of Yobe and Borno State to get to Maiduguri," said a statement from Al Jazeera.

"Both men are accredited and respected Nigerian journalists. As Nigerian citizens they are allowed to travel their country freely. Al Jazeera calls on the authorities to end this matter swiftly by returning all their equipment and releasing both men without conditions," the statement added.
Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustafa are part of four Al Jazeera English teams reporting on the election in Nigeria.

Last year Idris became the first international journalist to reach Chibok and interview families affected by the mass kidnap of schoolgirls by Boko Haram.