Malian journalist released

2012-05-26 10:38

Dakar - A Malian journalist missing for two weeks emerged on Friday, telling AFP he had been held by the state security service and freed earlier this week, but stayed silent until now to protect his family.

Babi Ahbi, editor of the Bamako-based periodical Agora, had been reported missing by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, amid continuing instability after a rebel takeover in the north and a military coup.

Talking by phone, Ahbi said that he had been back home since Tuesday.

He said he had been arrested two weeks ago by state security agents not far from his home, handcuffed and placed in a cell alongside a Nigerian, a Ghanaian and "an Arab".

He said he was accused of being a terrorist, a crook and "pro-Dioncounda Traore," Mali's interim president.

He now plans to sue the state security agency which could not be contacted for comment on Friday.

Amid continuing political instability following the rebel takeover and the military coup in March, Reporters Without Borders compiled a summary of media freedom violations in Mali during the past three weeks.

"Chaos has reigned in the north since March, but the persistence of media freedom violations in the south, especially the capital, Bamako, is intolerable," the media watchdog said.