Chad journalist released from detention

Libreville- A Chadian journalist has been released without charge after four days in detention over the publication of an article criticising the country's president, he said  on Thursday.

Daniel Ngadjadoum, a contributor to Chadian newspaper Tribune Info, was released on Wednesday "on order of the prosecutor", he told AFP by phone from his nation's capital N'Djamena.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) media rights watchdog had condemned his detention in a statement on Wednesday.

The group said he had been taken into custody by the National Security Agency (ANS) counter-espionage force, which is linked directly to President Idriss Deby's office.

"I was taken Sunday morning with my Bible in my hand, as I was coming out of church," Ngadjadoum said.

ANS's director "asked me why I wrote an article headlined 'Idriss Deby, a deceitful poker player president'. I offered an explanation that convinced him, but he asked me to write a letter of apology", the journalist said.

"Under threat, I accepted."

Ngadjadoum was eventually freed without charge.

For 27 years, Deby has ruled Chad with an iron fist. The nation is a key ally of the West in the fight against jihadists.

RSF lists Chad as the 127th nation out of 179 in its World Press Freedom Index, and describes the country as a "tough" place to be a journalist.

"Despite laws protecting media freedom, any criticism of the regime or its allies is immediately punished," the watchdog says on its website.

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