Ethiopian police detain journalists reporting on drought, escort them back to capital

August 17, 2016 2:45 PM ET

Ethiopian police on August 8, 2016, detained three journalists reporting on the effects of a severe drought in the country before escorting them back to Addis Ababa with a warning not to work outside the capital, the Foreign Correspondents' Association of Ethiopia said in a statement.

Fred de Sam Lazaro and Thomas Adair from the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and Africa News Agency (ANA) correspondent Hadra Ahmed, who was working as a fixer and translator, were told by the police to report to the Shashemene town police station, about 240km from the capital.

Police confiscated their passports and their equipment and offered no reason for their detention. The team was taken back to Addis Ababa the next day under police escort, interrogated for a further six hours and then released with a warning not to report outside the capital.

"Hadra and her colleagues' ordeal is the latest example in a long trend of the government preventing journalists from doing their work," William Davison, the FCAE's chairman, said in the statement. In March 16, police detained Davison and a translator in the eastern town of Awash, confiscated their equipment, and escorted them back to the capital, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported at the time.

Ethiopia is the third worst jailer of journalists on the African continent, with at least 10 behind bars on December 1, CPJ's 2015 prison census shows.

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