Kenyan police apologised for briefly arresting journalists from Chinese state television’s international English channel China Global Television Network (CGTN).
The incident happened days after President Uhuru Kenyatta attended a summit in China, a crucial partner for the East African nation. President Xi Jinping offered another $60 billion in financing for Africa.
Officers on Wednesday raided the CGTN offices in Nairobi and detained some staff for what they alleged were immigration offences.
“The raid on the Chinese state-owned broadcaster was based on false information,” Charles Owino, Kenya national police spokesman told Reuters. “We sincerely apologise for the mishap. Those detained were released later.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying confirmed the raid, telling a daily news briefing in Beijing Kenyan police, during a sweep of illegal workers, took away several Chinese reporters and other staff members.
The Chinese embassy immediately complained to the Kenyan government and all personnel were released the same day, Hua added.
“The Kenyan side already apologised to the Chinese side about improper law enforcement and promised they will constrain the actions of police at grassroots to prevent such incidents from happening again,” Hua said.
“According to what we understand, this action by Kenyan police is part of a move to crack down on illegal immigration and is neither aimed at nor limited to Chinese citizens.”
The propaganda department at China’s main state television station CCTV, the parent of CGTN, declined to comment on the incident.
China helped finance key infrastructure projects in Kenya, including a $3-billion railway linking Nairobi to the port of Mombasa.