Tanzanian immigration authorities detained Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Sub-Saharan Africa representative Muthoki Mumo, left, and Africa program co-ordinator Angela Quintal in Dar es Salaam on November 7 2018. Picture: CPJ
Tanzanian immigration authorities detained Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Sub-Saharan Africa representative Muthoki Mumo, left, and Africa program co-ordinator Angela Quintal in Dar es Salaam on November 7 2018. Picture: CPJ

After “a very long night”‚ the department of international relations and co-operation on Thursday confirmed that South African journalist Angela Quintal and colleague Muthoki Mumo had been released after being detained by authorities in Tanzania.

Quintal‚ now working for the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)‚ was detained at her hotel in Dar es Salaam with her CPJ colleague on Wednesday evening.

“Following a very long night by the high commissioner‚ the two journalists have been brought back to their hotel. The high commissioner, [Thami] Mseleku, is meeting with them to understand the events of last night‚” department spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said.

“He will then proceed to engage the Tanzania authority. I personally spoke to her this morning and the high commissioner early this morning‚” Mabaya said.

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) called on the government to find answers as to why Quintal and her Kenyan colleague were detained in Tanzania.

“Sanef calls on government to quickly resolve the worrying detention of South African journalist Angela Quintal and her colleague‚ Muthoki Mumo‚” Sanef chair Mahlatse Gallens said.

Giving details on their arrest‚ Gallens said: “After approximately five hours‚ Quintal and Mumo were then returned to their Dar es Salaam hotel at around 3am — but without their passports. Details and reasons for the detention are still not clear.”

Quintal‚ who is the Africa programme co-ordinator for CPJ‚ had  sent a message from her Facebook page‚ stating that she and  Mumo‚ were being detained, on Wednesday.

The message from Angela Quintal’s Facebook page. Picture: SUPPLIED
The message from Angela Quintal’s Facebook page. Picture: SUPPLIED

Hours later‚ she took to her Twitter page to say they had been released. But her family took to social media to state that the message was not sent by Quintal while CPJ called on Tanzanian authorities to immediately release its staffers.

Both of their social media accounts were suspended after the dubious post on Quintal’s account.

On this matter‚ Gallens said it was unclear whether Tanzanian authorities had taken Quintal’s phone. A number of her social media profiles have been deactivated.

“Sanef believes these are very worrying developments. We need to urgently find out the reasons behind this detention. Further‚ the journalists’ passports and phones need to be immediately returned‚” she said.

“We believe the arbitrary detention of journalists is a direct and dangerous threat to media freedom and access to information.”

On Wednesday evening, officers who identified themselves as working with the Tanzanian immigration authority detained Quintal and Mumo in their hotel room‚ according to Quintal. The officials searched the pair’s belongings and would not return their passports when asked.

They were in the country on a reporting mission for the committee. Quintal is a respected journalist and former editor of the Mail & Guardian newspaper‚ among other senior positions‚ now working for the media freedom group based in the US. She is also a former national office bearer of Sanef.

Please sign in or register to comment.