On May 18, 2015, Moussa Tchangari, managing editor of the Alternative bi-monthly publication and Secretary-General of the Alternative-Espace-Citoyens, a Non-Governmental Organisation, was arrested on the premises of Niger’s anti-terrorist brigade.
The MFWA’s correspondent in Niger reported that Tchangari’s arrest was announced in a communiqué issued by the Minister of Interior, Hassimi Massaoudou, and broadcast by national television.
The communiqué alleged that Tchangari was involved in “a criminal conspiracy with the Boko Haram terrorist organisation.”
“For some time now, this man has been working with the Boko Haram sect and he has been waging an active campaign to propagate false news in collaboration with Boko Haram,” Massaoudou told MFWA’s correspondent. “All his propaganda aims at showing that it is the Nigerien defence and security forces which are the criminals and not Boko Haram.”
“According to a source close to Tchangari, he was picked up when he sent food to a relative (a traditional ruler) in the Diffa region who is being held by the anti-terrorist brigade for refusing to cooperate with the Nigerien authorities in their attempt to track down Boko Haram,” the correspondent reported.
Diffa region is in the east of the Nigerien capital, Niamey, and shares a border with Maiduguri in Nigeria. Diffa is an area where Boko Haram has killed several Nigeriens and displaced thousand others.
The Association of Nigerien civil society organisations, has condemned Tchangari’s detention.