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Police release journalists Irene Mugo, Lydia Nyawira

Monday September 10 2018

Journalists

Journalists Lydia Nyawira (left) and Irene Mugo leave Mukurwe-ini police station, Nyeri County, on September 10, 2018. They had been in police custody. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NICHOLAS KOMU
By NICHOLAS KOMU
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Two journalists who were arrested by police while on duty in Nyeri County have been released.

Irene Mugo (Daily Nation) and Lydia Nyawira (Standard) were being held at Mukurwe-ini police station after being arrested following an interview with the kin of a man, Mr Albert Nderitu, who was apprehended over claims he wanted to heckle Deputy President William Ruto during a function in Nyeri on Sunday.

PHOTO-TAKING

Mr Nderitu wore a T-shirt printed #Kieleweke, which was presumed to be against Mr Ruto.

The reporters were freed unconditionally after Central Regional Commissioner Wilson Njega, County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia and County Police Commander Ali Nuno intervened.

"The officers now say they held them for taking photos of the police station but they have not been arrested," Mr Njega said.

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Mr Shisia said that "Albert Nderitu will now be a witness in the probe into plans to heckle the DP".

DELETE FOOTAGE

Mr Shisia said he will take up the matter with the officers. He also warned journalists against taking photos within police station precincts without authorisation.

Mr Nderitu had been asked to pay a Sh50,000 cash bail but was later released on free bond and directed to report back to the station on September 13.

Ms Mugo said: "A female officer called me and wanted me to delete footage of the interview with the man. Three other officers then came and forced us into the police station."

And Ms Nyawira added: "They gave us the option of deleting the data or be arrested. We refused and they locked up my colleague."

POLICE CRITICISED

Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said he will raise the issue with Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet.

Mr Wambugu is a member of the parliamentary security committee.

"I will be asking my Committee - the Administration and National Security Committee - to follow this case. We will summon the Cabinet Secretary Interior, PS Interior, IG Police and DCI to explain exactly what happened today, and why," he said.