Nigerian military frees editor held over Boko Haram article

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Nigeria’s military has released an editor two days after detaining him over an article about a planned offensive against Islamist militants in the northeast, his newspaper said.

Soldiers raided the Daily Trust’s offices in the capital Abuja on Sunday in an operation that the Committee to Protect Journalists said showed “a dearth of respect for press freedom” a month before elections.

Soldiers also shut down the newspaper’s bureau in the northeastern city of Maiduguri where they detained regional editor Uthman Abubakar. The military later said the article had “divulged classified military information” and the action was meant to show the seriousness of the breach.

Islamist militants have stepped up attacks in the northeast in recent months, piling pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in 2015 promising to crush the insurgency and faces fresh elections on Feb. 16.

The military has complained in the past about critical coverage of its fight against the militants from the Boko Haram separatist group, and their more lethal offshoot Islamic State West Africa. But it had stopped short of arresting reporters.

Abubakar was brought back to the paper’s Maiduguri office and released without charge on Tuesday, the Daily Trust said in an article. The bureau was reopened a day earlier.

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