02072017AdiakeReutersLucGnago550.jpg
A sign for Adiake stands by an empty road in the Ivory Coast. Six journalists face charges of spreading false news for reporting on a settlement reached to end a military mutiny in the town. (Reuters/Luc Gnago)

Ivory Coast detains six journalists for reporting on mutiny

February 21, 2017 1:00 PM ET

Police in the Ivory Coast on February 12, 2017, detained Vamara Coulibaly, the publisher of the independent Soir Info and L'Inter newspapers; Hamadou Ziao, editor-in-chief of L'Inter; Jean Bédel Gnago, a journalist with Soir info; Bamba Franck Mamadou, the publisher of the pro-opposition newspaper Notre Voie; Yacouba Gbané, the publisher of the pro-opposition newspapers Le Temps and LG Info; and Ferdinand Bailly, a journalist with Le Temps, for reporting that the government had negotiated a settlement to end a military mutiny in the southeastern city of Adiake on February 7, according to media reports.

The six journalists were detained for 48 hours at a police camp in the economic capital Abidjan and questioned for publishing reports that the government had reached an agreement to pay 17 million West African francs (US $27,370) and other forms of compensation to each of the mutinying soldiers, according to media reports.

Christophe Richard Adou, a state public prosecutor, said the journalists were "spreading false information in a bid to encourage soldiers to revolt," media reports said. The journalists appeared before a judge on February 14 and released the same day pending trial on charges of spreading false news, endangering the security of the state, and incitement to revolt, according to media reports.

Ivory Coast's national press union, Synapp-CI, condemned the arrests. Guillaume Gbato, the union's secretary general, said the information in the newspapers' reports was sourced and verified, according to media reports.

The Ivory Coast has in recent weeks seen soldiers mutiny to demand higher wages and bonuses in a few locations, according to media reports. Mutinous soldiers on January 7 for hours held hostage some 20 journalists, Defense Minister Alain-Richard Donwahi, and other government officials in a bid to force negotiations with the government, according to media reports.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This text has been updated to correct the currency of the reported settlement with soldiers in Adiake to West African francs.

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