DAR ES SALAAM, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Tanzania has detained two staff members of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and confiscated their passports, the rights group has said.
Immigration officials detained Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo on Wednesday at their hotel in the capital Dar es Salaam, the CPJ said in a statement.
Quintal works as the CPJ’s Africa program coordinator while Mumo is the group’s sub-Saharan Africa representative. They were on a reporting assignment in Tanzania.
“Officers who identified themselves as working with the Tanzanian immigration authority detained Quintal and Mumo in their hotel room,” the CPJ said on Wednesday.
The officials searched their belongings, confiscated their passports and then took them to an unknown location, the CPJ said, calling for their immediate release.
Immigration department spokesman Ali Mtanda said on Thursday he was trying to determine which government agency had detained the two CPJ staff and where they had been arrested.
“We are following up this matter closely...we will update the public in the afternoon,” he told Reuters.
The government of President John Magufuli has been criticised by opposition politicians and international rights groups for what they say is growing authoritarianism and intolerance toward dissent. The government has rejected the criticism.
The European Union this week said it would review its relations with Tanzania after an official in Dar es Salaam threatened to launch a crackdown on homosexuals. (Additional reporting by Nuzulack Dausen; Writing by Elias Biryabarema)