Woyanne releases US journalists – BBC

May 23rd, 2007 Print Print Email Email

The Zenawi Regime has released three New York Times journalists who were arrested while covering the conflict in the Ogaden region, the newspaper says. (more…)

The Zenawi Regime has released three New York Times journalists who were arrested while covering the conflict in the Ogaden region, the newspaper says.

The journalists were interrogated at gunpoint and released without charges after five days.

The Americans were arrested at Degeh Bur, where Ethiopian soldiers are battling with Ogaden National Liberation Front (OLF) rebels.

The ethnic Somalis rebels have been fighting for secession since the 1990s.

The journalists, who include the newspaper’s Nairobi Bureau Chief Jeffery Gettleman, were threatened, kicked and moved to different jails before the authorities released them in Addis Ababa.

Bill Keller, the executive editor of the New York Times said they were looking for explanations.

“Why were journalists on a legitimate newsgathering assignment arrested, imprisoned for five days and manhandled,” Mr Keller told the Associated Press news agency.

They were released after the intervention of US embassy officials in Addis Ababa and the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Ethiopian soldiers refused to give back their confiscated equipment because of security reasons, the newspaper said.

Ethiopia’s Ogaden region shares a long porous border with Somalia and has been clouded by conflict for the past 20 years.

The government blames ONLF activities for lack of meaningful development in the region.

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