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Chad Journalist Accused of Damaging Military's Honor


A Chadian journalist will go before a judge, Thursday, after publishing an article accusing the country's military of recruiting child soldiers in its current fight against rebels. Media freedom groups have condemned his arrest.

Journalist Evariste Ngaralbaye was imprisoned Friday, after the weekly Notre Temps newspaper hit newsstands with his article on child soldiers. In it, Ngaralbaye quoted parents who said their teenage boys had been pushed into combat against the rebels in the country's east.

The journalist was released Tuesday, after a judge found military police had arrested him without a legal complaint having been filed.

Today, Ngaralbaye appears before a judge to answer charges of defamation and damaging the honor of the country's armed forces.

Denoudjita Nadjikimo is the editor of Notre Temps newspaper. He says they plan to defend the reporter in court by showing photos of the alleged child soldiers. Proof, he says, that the story they published is true and not defamatory.

Chad's defense minister has denied that his armed forces use child soldiers and warned reporters against, in his words, casting slurs against the country's military.

Ngaralbaye's arrest has been condemned by the Paris-based media freedom group Reporters Without Borders.

Evariste Ngaralbaye has contributed to reporting for the Voice of America's English and French language services.

Bloody battles between the Chadian national army and rebels in the country's east have flared up in recent weeks. Last week, the army's chief of staff died in the fighting.

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