Update 17:23GMT 29/01/2016 : Both journalists have been safely released


The Public Media Alliance is deeply concerned about last night’s arrest of two foreign journalists amid the ongoing crisis in Burundi

British freelance photojournalist Phil Moore and French journalist Jean Philippe Remy, chief of La Monde’s African Bureau, were amongst 17 arrested as part of a police raid in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura.

Exact details remain unclear but according to La Monde the pair were legally in the country and “merely exercising their profession by meeting all parties concerned in the current tensions in Burundi”. The AFP reports that the journalists were arrested amongst a group of armed persons.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa (FCAEA) said it is “extremely concerned about the arrests of our esteemed and dear colleagues.”

The country has been in political turmoil since President Pierre Nkrunziza announced his intention to run for a third term in office and consequently winning a heavily-disputed election in July 2015.

The fallout has led to intermittent violence, killings and the displacement of up to 215,000 people. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) issued a statement in November 2015 regarding the arrest of radio journalist Blaise Célestin Ndihokubwayo. In it they described the substantial pressures faced by independent media in the country,resulting in dozens of journalists fleeing the country through fear of arrest.

Both journalists remain under arrest at the time of writing.

Source: AlJazeera, AFP, La Monde.