Niger ALERT: Editor Arrested

The editor of the weekly L’Enquêteur newspaper, Ibrahim Souley, was on Saturday September 13, 2003, arrested and detained by the Niamey Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The police accused Souley of “inciting ethnic hatred and regionalism”.

According to Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)-Niger, Souley’s arrest followed the publication in the latest issue of the L’Enquêteur, of a story which alleged that President Tandja Mamadou had instructed the Finance Ministry to withhold all payments due to Djibo Sakou, a well-known business contractor.

The paper suggested that the President’s directives were occasioned by complaints being made by some businessmen in the east of Niger, who alleged that most public contracts were being awarded to the contractor in question presumably because he hails from the west of Niger.

The MFWA condemns this arbitrary use of state security to harass and silence the media in Niger for any publication that the government feels disillusioned about. We appeal to H. E. President Tandja Mamadou to restrain his state security and encourage them to redress any grievances against the media through the constitutionally mandated organs, such as the Higher Council for Communications (CSC) or the Press Council.

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