News24

Swedish journos probed in Ethiopia

2011-07-07 13:39

Addis Ababa - Two Swedish journalists detained last week accompanying rebels opposed to the government in Ethiopia are being investigated but have yet to be charged, a government spokesperson said.

Officials were simply carrying out an investigation, foreign ministry spokesperson Dina Mufti said late on Wednesday, despite having earlier said the two would face trial for the "terrorist activities" they were planning.

"There are no formal allegations or accusations that have been made against them yet," Dina told AFP.

Freelance journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye were arrested on July 01 by Ethiopian police in the eastern city of Jijiga where they had gone on an assignment.

They entered the region through Somalia with members of the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which is opposed to the Ethiopian government.

They were travelling with ONLF rebels when fighting broke out with Ethiopian troops in which 15 rebels were killed and six people injured including the journalists.

The ONLF has been fighting for the independence of the remote southeastern Ogaden since its formation in 1984, claiming the region has been marginalised by the Addis Ababa regime.

The barren Ogaden region has long been extremely poor, but the discovery of gas and oil has brought new hopes of wealth as well as new causes of conflict.