CPJ troubled by editor’s detention

New York, November 8, 2004—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the detention of Mathieu N’do, managing editor of the pro-opposition weekly San Finna. Local sources say N’do was arrested November 5 at the airport in the capital, Ouagadougou, as he was returning from Ivory Coast, where he had traveled to report on ongoing tensions between government and rebel forces.

Local journalists believe N’do’s detention may be linked to his journalistic work, which is often critical of the Burkina Faso government. In particular, N’do has been an outspoken critic of government policy in Ivory Coast, where Burkina Faso has been accused of arming the rebellion.

Ivory Coast remains divided between the government-controlled south and rebel-held north, despite a fragile 2003 peace deal. Last week, government forces in Ivory Coast launched military air strikes on rebel positions in the north of the country, breaking a ceasefire in force since 2003.

Local sources told CPJ that N’do is being held incommunicado by Burkina Faso’s national security service in Ouagadougou. No charges have been officially brought.

“The detention of a journalist without apparent charge or explanation is deplorable,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “If Mathieu N’do is being held for his work as a journalist, he should be released immediately and unconditionally.”

In August 2002, police in Burkina Faso arrested Newton Ahmed Barry, editor-in-chief of the private monthly L’Evénement, and interrogated him about contacts with Ivoirian journalists and the Ivoirian government. Barry was held for two days before being released without charge.