In Senegal, police question radio journalist

Police in Dakar, the capital, summoned Alassane Samba Diop, director of Radio Futurs Médias (RFM), for four hours of questioning on August 25, 2012, over an interview he broadcast the night before with the leader of a hardline Islamist group, according to news reports.

The officers demanded to know how he had made contact with Oumar Hamaha, the second-in-command of Ansar Dine, an Islamist militant group controlling parts of northern Mali, for the interview, according to news reports. In the interview, Hamaha said Ansar Dine would attack the capitals of all of the member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) if military troops were sent to the north of Mali, news reports said.

Diop said that police told him that the interior minister had ordered them to call him in for questioning. When Diop was released at 2 p.m., police told him he would be called in again if necessary, news reports said.

The journalist told police he wanted the interview with Hamaha to get first-hand information of events in the north of Mali and not depend on foreign media; to inform the Senegalese public on the current situation affecting both neighboring countries; and to call on Senegalese authorities to increase security.