Reporters Without Borders voiced its surprise after police in the capital Ouagadougou today summoned the leaders of the Collective against Impunity in Burkina Faso, two days after it organised a march to mark the 10th anniversary of the murder of the editor of the L'Indépendant.
On the sidelines of the protest, the worldwide press freedom organisation symbolically renamed the Avenue de la Nation, "Avenue Norbert Zongo" and handed out stickers to demonstrators.
“We hail the success of the march on 13 December and we take full responsibility for the operation in Ouagadougou”, the organisation said. “We deplore the fact that the arrest of leaders of the Collective took place just hours after the departure of the Reporters Without Borders' delegation”.
“If the authorities wanted to ask for an explanation from us they could have done it directly” said Jean-François Julliard, Secretary-General of the organisation.
President of the Collective, Chrysogone Zougmoré, vice-president Tolé Sagnon, spokesman Jean-Claude Meda, and another spokesman, the lawyer Bénéwendé Sankara, were summoned to the headquarters of the national gendarmerie in Ouagadougou, to be questioned by the chief of staff, Colonel Martin Zongo, and two other officers.
Chrysogone Zougmoré told Reporters Without Borders by telephone afterwards that police had accused the members of the Collective of taking part in the 13 December operation to rename the Avenue de la Nation by putting up stickers reading "Avenue Norbert Zongo".
No charges were brought against the four leaders and they were all released one and a half hours later. Police told them that a report was being prepared on the case.