Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania’s Immigration Department has confirmed that it arrested and interrogated two officials from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ Africa) saying they had violated their stated purpose of the visit to Tanzania.
Earlier, an immigration official told The Citizen that the authorities had not obtained information on the arrested journos and promised to consult with the regional authorities.
CPJ Africa programme coordinator Angela Quintal and sub-Saharan Africa representative Muthoki Mumo were detained on Wednesday as they were in the country on a reporting mission for CPJ.
The two were released on Thursday November 8, 2018 but the Immigration spokesperson Ally Mtanda said that the department had already returned the traveling documents to the two journalists after withholding them for some time.
“It’s true that our Department arrested the two officials and questioned them. They arrived in the country on October 31, 2018 through the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam and they said the purpose of their trip was normal visit,” he said.
“However our officials established that they started holding meetings with local journalists and that’s contrary to the conditions of their entry permits,” he added.
He added; “We have directed our officials to teach them what they should do to comply with their entry permit conditions because if they were intending to hold meetings with journalists, then they should have contacted the relevant authorities before they start doing those activities.”
“After arresting them and educating them, we released them the same day yesterday and we continued to hold their passports we have already returned the documents back to them,” he stressed.
“The entry permits forbid employment or business activities. If they want to engage themselves in anything more than a normal visit then they have to request appropriate permits,” Mr Mtanda noted.
It was not stated if they had been asked to leave the country or not.
Acting Chairperson of the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), Mr Deodatus Balile and Chairman of Kenya Editors Guild Churchil Otieno condemned the arrest of the two journalists.