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Niger21 September 2007

RFI and Reporters Without Borders correspondent held incommunicado

Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate release of Moussa Kaka, director of privately-owned Radio Saraouniya and Niger correspondent of Radio France Internationale and Reporters Without Borders, who was arrested yesterday evening and who is being held at police headquarters in Niamey.

“Our correspondent’s arrest indicates that, under pressure from the Tuareg rebellion, the Niger authorities are taking a tougher line,” Reporters Without Borders said. “President Mamadou Tandja should realise this will just make the situation worse. Trying to conceal an awkward reality will not make it go away.”

Kaka was arrested at about 6 p.m. at his radio station in Niamey and was taken to police headquarters, where he has been held ever since. The police searched his home and took the draft of a report he had sent to RFI. The authorities have not said why he is being. Under Niger law, the police can hold a suspect incommunicado for 24 hours before allowing him to see a lawyer.

Radio Saraouniya is an independent station that has given extensive coverage to deadly attacks on military bases in the north by the Tuareg rebels of the Niger People’s Movement for Justice (MNJ) and interviewed one of its leaders, Agali Alambo. Kaka was publicly threatened by army chief of staff Gen. Moumouni Boureima on 14 July. Thereafter, RFI’s local FM broadcasts were suspended for a month by the media regulatory authority, the Superior Council for Communication (CSC), for “disseminating mendacious reports” about the MNJ.

In this country
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