Al Jazeera demands Nigeria release two detained journalists ahead of election

Al Jazeera is calling for the immediate release of their two Nigerian journalists who were detained early Tuesday while on special assignment to cover Nigeria’s upcoming presidential election.

According to military statements, journalists Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustafa worked without proper ”protection, accreditation or due clearance” and suspicion of “loitering.” Al Jazeera issued a statement late Wednesday, saying that both journalists received accreditation from the Independent Electoral Commission in Abuja to report anywhere during election period and call for their release “without conditions.”

We call on the Nigerian authorities to release Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustafa; they have all the relevant paperwork to report on the Nigerian elections and stories related to the election. Both men had just finished filming a story on the military with their cooperation. They were not ‘loitering’, but were in the hotel room and had only passed through the restricted areas of Yobe and Borno State to get to Maiduguri.

Both journalists were detained in Maiduguri in Borno State and currently remain in their hotel room, contrary to military statements of the journalists “loitering.”

Prior to the March 28 election, Nigeria has imposed increased security measures, sealing the country’s inland and coastal borders in response to the threat of Boko Haram.