Thursday, 20 January 2011

Two die, two arrested in separatist protests

Borotseland or Western Province is that traditional home of the Barotse people in Western Zambia. In recent weeks, there has been increasing separatist murmurs from the area, sparked partly or at least using the example of the South Sudan referendum to generate interest. Two people have been killed in the protests and running battles were reported with police on Saturday. Two reporters accused of inciting rioting have now been arrested. This situation is obviously serious for Zambia but also has potential implications for other African countries, many of which have regions with separatist movements.

Reporters without Borders and the International Federation of Journalists have condemned the arrests. Reporters without Borders have expressed concern that the arrests are due to the government's displeasure at the nature of their coverage of the riots over the weekend. A radio station in Western Province has also been closed by the government.

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