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Ivory Coast Arrests 3 Journalists Over Cocoa Story


Police in Ivory Coast have arrested three journalists after their newspaper published details of an inquiry into corruption in the cocoa industry.

Police seized the editor-in-chief, Saint-Claver Oula, and two other senior editors of Le Nouveau Courrier newspaper and charged them with theft of an official document. Oula also contributes to the Voice of America's French to Africa service.

Media rights group the Committee to Protect Journalists says the three editors were formally charged Friday after refusing to reveal their sources to Ivory Coast's state prosecutor.

CPJ says Oula has begun a hunger strike to protest his detention.

Le Nouveau Courrier this week published the findings of a government report into graft allegations in the cocoa industry.

A spokesman for a coalition of local professional journalist associations told CPJ that all newspapers in Ivory Coast are being asked to republish Le Nouveau Courrier's story on Monday as a sign of solidarity.

President Laurent Gbagbo launched an inquiry into the cocoa sector leading to the arrest in 2008 of 20 senior cocoa industry officials. The officials are still awaiting trial.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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