Nigerian military frees detained Aljazeera journalists

The Nigerian military has ordered the release of two Aljazeera journalists who have been detained in Maiduguri, Borno for over a week after being accused of “loitering” around areas of military operations.

Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustapha were released in the early hours of Saturday after spending ten days in detention in their hotel room.

The defence headquarters spokesperson, Chris Olukolade had in a statement said the duo were moving around “restricted areas” in Yobe and Borno states without protection, accreditation or clearance.

The two Journalists also sued the Nigerian Army challenging their detention, which has been condemned by Nigerian and international civic groups.

The were represented by lawyer and human rights activists, Femi Falana, who sought a declaration that the arrest and detention by the military was illegal and unconstitutional, thereby violating their right to personal liberty guaranteed by Section 34, 35 and 41 of the constitution and Article 5, 6 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and peoples’ Right Act.

He also sought an order directing the Nigerian military and the army chief, Kenneth Minimah, to release the journalists from illegal military custody immediately.

It is not clear if their decision to approach the court was responsible for their release.

Efforts to speak with a representative of Aljazeera network were unsuccessful as our calls were neither answered, nor returned at the time of publishing this story.

Also, efforts to speak to one of the released Journalist, Ahmed Idris, was unsuccessful. He also did not respond to our text message. PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the two journalists are travelling to Abuja from Maiduguri.

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