US says 'closely following' on journalists held in Tanzania
- Ms Quintal is the CPJ’s Africa program coordinator while Ms Mumo is the organisation’s sub-Saharan Africa representative.
The US State Department is 'closely following' on Tanzania’s arrest of two Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) staff, a spokesperson told CNN on Thursday.
Ms Muthoki Mumo, a former Nation reporter, and her CPJ colleague Ms Angela Quintal were detained on Wednesday in their hotel room in Dar es Salaam and then taken to an undisclosed location by people who identified themselves as immigration officials.
"We continue to engage with our Government of Tanzania counterparts on a wide range of issues, including those related to human rights," the State Department said in a statement Wednesday.
"The United States remains committed to the values of democracy, rule of law, freedom of expression, and prosperity in Tanzania."
Ms Quintal is the CPJ’s Africa program coordinator while Ms Mumo is the organisation’s sub-Saharan Africa representative.
The two were on a reporting mission missing in the country.
"We are concerned for the safety of our colleagues Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo, who were detained while legally visiting Tanzania," Committee to Protect Journalists executive director Joel Simon said. "We call on the authorities to immediately release them and return their passports."
The Twitter accounts of two have been suspended, leading to confusion whether Ms Mumo and the former Mail & Guardian editor Quintal have been released.
A South African news site, News24, reported that a tweet had been sent from Ms Quintal's account appearing to allay fears by confirming that she and Ms Mumo had been released but her family claimed that someone else may have been in possession of her phone.
When Nation tried to reach Ms Quintal on one of her WhatsApp lines, a reply was sent saying: "You've got the wrong number does not anger."