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Embassies Protest Beatings, Arrests Of Reporters

November 17, 1987

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ Kenya received formal protests from the embassies of the United States, Britain and West Germany after paramilitary police beat and detained four journalists covering a university riot.

Police clubbed, punched, kicked and slapped the journalists who tried to cover a student riot Sunday at the University of Nairobi. Officials closed the university Monday after a second day of protest caused by arrests of student leadersicked in the back,″ said Moser, a 30-year-old Geneva man based in Nairobi.

Lindsey Hilsum, 29, a freelance British journalist reporting for the British Broadcasting Corp., was severely bruised by police who beat her on the back until one of their clubs broke.

The other two reporters, who suffered bruises, were Didrikke Schanche of New York, a 31-year-old reporter for The Associated Press, and Peer Meinert, 36, of West Germany’s Deutsche Presse agency.

All were released after about three hours. Police said they were trespassing and should not have been at the scene of the riot.

A protest from the International Press Institute, based in London, declared: ″We urge immediate and full investigation into this disgraceful action on the part of your police and, further, we request your assurance that such a blatant and unpleasant attempt to obstruct press freedom will not occur again.″

Werner Glosauer of the West German Embassy said the Foreign Ministry in Bonn summoned Kenya’s ambassador to demand an explanation of the incident. Helmut Kohl is scheduled to be in Kenya Nov. 18-21 for the first official visit to Africa by a West German chancellor.

Britain’s mission said its formal note ″protested in strong terms at the beating of Ms. Hilsum, who was going about her duty as a journalist.″

In Washington, State Department spokesman Charles Redman said the U.S. Embassy had protested.

He also said Kenyan emigration authorities reported that seven American missionaries left Nairobi last Friday in response to a deportation order.

Redman said the action presumably resulted from allegations that the missionaries were plotting to overthrow the government of President Daniel arap Moi, which he called ″patently absurd.″

″The reports of the alleged plot appear to be based on a memo which we believe to be a forgery,″ Redman said.

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