Around 60 journalists held by army in Maguindanao for over an hour

Some 60 journalists from Manila and Mindanao were held for more than an hour this morning in Guindolongan, Maguindanao by elements of the Bravo Company of the 46th Infantry Battalion.

The journalists were on their way from Datu Piang to Cotabato in their second day of the three-day media coverage of the state of evacuees in Mindanao displaced by the continuing conflict between the government and the Moro islamic Liberation Front.

According to NUJP Vice Chair Nonoy Espina, who was among the journalists participating in the coverage, their convoy was stopped by the soldiers at Brgy. Bagan in Guindolongan as allegedly ordered by 601st Infantry Brigade commander Col. Medardo Geslani.

Reports state that Geslani later confirmed that he ordered his troops to stop all media personnel from entering the area and escort them to the headquarters, to which the journalists objected.

Reports further state that other journalists were wondering why only civilians were allowed to pass through without any explanation.

Geslina later explained to the Inquirer that his instructions were only for the purpose of ensuring the safety of the journalists and not intended to halt the fact-finding mission, saying that journalists are “vulnerable and potential targets of some armed groups.”

According the Espina, the journalists were held since 8 am and released only around past

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