Abdoulaye Tiémogo of the Le Canard Dechainé and Ali Soumana of Le Courrier were being held at the main police station in the capital, Niamey, and could be formally charged on Wednesday, according to defense lawyer Karim Souley. The arrests stem from complaints filed by Justice Minister Garba Lompo, and Niger's National Commission on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, he said.
Le Canard Dechainé alleged that Lompo, while president of the commission, misused millions in CFA francs destined for a study on slavery in Niger. Lompo has denied the charge. Le Courrier reported that the commission misused 350 million CFA francs (US$760,000) that was earmarked for supervision of Tuesday's referendum on a constitutional amendment scrapping presidential term limits, according to local journalists. The commission members denied the accusation.
"The detention of Abdoulaye Tiémogo and Ali Soumana is part
of a disturbing trend of harassment of independent journalists reporting on
corruption in Niger,"
Africa Program Coordinator