South African journalist Angela Quintal freed‚ after night in detention in Tanzania

Tanzanian immigration authorities detained Committee to Protect Journalists CPJ Sub-Saharan Africa Representative Muthoki Mumo, left, and Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal in Dar es Salaam on November 7.
Tanzanian immigration authorities detained Committee to Protect Journalists CPJ Sub-Saharan Africa Representative Muthoki Mumo, left, and Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal in Dar es Salaam on November 7.
Image: CPJ

After "a very long night"‚ South Africa's Department of International Relations and Cooperation on Thursday confirmed that journalist Angela Quintal has been released after being detained by authorities in Tanzania.

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

"Following a very long night by the High Commissioner‚ the two journalists have been brought back into their hotel. The High Commissioner [Thami] Mseleku is meeting with them to understand the events of last night‚" South Africa's Dirco spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya told TimesLIVE.

"He will then proceed to engage the Tanzania authority.

"I personally spoke to her this morning and the High Commissioner early this morning‚" Mabaya added.

Quintal‚ who is the Africa Programme co-ordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists‚ had on Wednesday first sent a message from her Facebook page‚ stating that she and a colleague‚ Sub-Saharan Africa representative Muthoki Mumo‚ were being detained.

"SOS we are being taken away for interrogation in Dar. We don't know why. Taken from Southern Sun Hotel‚" she said.

Hours later‚ she took to her Twitter page to say they had since been released.

But her family took to social media to state that the message was not sent by Quintal while the 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.

Quintal and Momo are in Tanzania on a reporting mission for CPJ.

Quintal is a respected journalist and former editor of the Mail & Guardian newspaper‚ amongst other senior positions‚ now working for the media freedom group based in America.

She is also a former national office bearer of the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef).

Sanef has meanwhile called on the government to find answers as to why the two 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‚" said Sanef chairperson Mahlatse Gallens.

Shedding 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."

Referring to the the fact that it appeared someone else was using Quintal's social media accounts, Gallens said it was unclear whether Tanzanian authorities had taken Quintal’s phone.

"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.”

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