CPJ expresses concern over safety of Sports Journalists abducted in Nigeria

Source: africanexaminer.com

The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the safety of two sports

journalists, one South African and one Nigerian, who were seized by unidentified gunmen

in military uniforms on Monday. The gunmen stopped a bus carrying 21 crew members of

M-Net's SuperSport channel, a South African private satellite television station, and took

the three journalists hostage, local journalists told CPJ. Another Nigerian journalist was

able to escape.
The journalists were abducted near the southern town of Owerri , Imo State , on their

way to the local airport. South African sound engineer Nic Greyling and Nigerian

commentator Bowie Attamah are being held captive while the remaining TV crew arrived

safely in Lagos , M-Net spokeswoman Caroline Creasy told CPJ.

According to national police spokesman Yemi Ajayi, Nigerian cameraman Alexander

Effiong managed to escape after the abduction. Police and security agents were

pursuing the kidnappers in both Imo and neighboring Anambra State , he added.

“We are alarmed by the abduction of these three sports journalists and fear for their

safety,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes . “We call on the Nigerian

authorities to make every effort possible to ensure their release.”

The crew was returning from a Nigerian premier league soccer match held on Sunday in

the nearby city of Engu , local journalists reported.

A ceasefire between rebel groups in the Niger Delta region and the government ended in

January. Militants have carried out a series of attacks in the region demanding more oil

revenues be devoted to local development. The attacks have cost Nigeria millions in lost

revenue over the years.
CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard

press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit www.cpj.org.