State Department 'closely following' 2 journalists held in Tanzania

Former Nation Journalist Muchoki Mumo

Muthoki Mumo and colleague Angela Quintal who were arrested yesterday in Tanzania have benn released and are now at the South African embassy in Tanzania.

Following an worldwide outcry, including from the US State Department, and the intervention of the Department for global Relations and Cooperation (Dirco), their passports were returned and the women were allowed to leave the country. He will then engage Tanzanian authorities.

Spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya told News24 that he had called Dirco's operations room and was contacting South Africa's ambassador in Tanzania.

Earlier on, Quintal's sister Genevieve Quintal faulted information shared through her Twitter account, saying that it was shared by Tanzanian police. We don't know why. She is also a former national office bearer of the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef).

It said in a statement that officers, who identified themselves as working with the Tanzanian immigration authority, detained Quintal and Mumo in their hotel room.

"We are concerned for the safety of our colleagues Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo, who were detained while legally visiting Tanzania", said CPJ executive director Joel Simon.

The officials - reportedly from Tanzania Immigration authority are said to have searched the pair's belongings and would not return their passports when asked.

"After arresting them and educating them, we released them the same day..."

Mabaya said their release came "after a lot of calls" but neither of the women had been given back their passport.

Two Committee to Protect Journalists staffers have been released from detention in Tanzania and have left the country, the organization announced Thursday.

CPJ accused the authorities of sending a false tweet from Quintal's personal account saying that they had been released and making several attempts to access her email account.

Quintal and Mumo were detained yesterday at their hotel in Dar es Salaam by immigration and security officials, taken to an unknown location, and interrogated about their work.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more details emerge.

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