ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Six journalists in Ivory Coast have been arrested on suspicion of faking news which could incite soldiers to revolt, journalist associations said on Monday, just days after a mutiny.
Ivory Coast has been gripped by a series of revolts this year by various factions of the military seeking bonus pay, after the government conceded to the demands of an initial group of mutineers in January.
Special forces seized the coastal town of Adiake last week in the latest episode of army violence which has tarnished Ivory Coast’s image as a post-war success story.
The president of the journalists’ union, Moussa Traore, said that six people had been arrested but gave no further details.
The journalists were arrested on Sunday and after several hours of questioning were taken to a police camp in Agban where they are still being held, media union SYNAPPCI said.
“Unfortunately we have noted that, in relation to these movements, certain media outlets are spreading false information that could incite soldiers to revolt,” state prosecutor Adou Richard said in a statement read on national television.
“This applies notably to the publications of Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017 by daily newspapers Soir Info, Le Temps, Notre Voie and l‘Inter,” he said, listing four well-known Ivorian papers.
It was not immediately clear which articles he was referring to, although SYNAPPCI suggested in a statement that the articles referred to deals between mutineering soldiers and the government.
“SYNAPPCI wishes to express its indignation and its deep disappointment at the persistence of attitudes and illegal practices aimed to humiliate journalists in Ivory Coast,” the union statement said.
Ivory Coast emerged from a decade-long political crisis and civil war in 2011 with one of the world’s fastest growing economies and as a darling of frontier market investors.
Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Louise Ireland