Tanzanian authorities have released CPJ sub-Saharan Africa Representative Muthoki Mumo and Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal in Dar es Salaam. Picture: CPJ

Johannesburg - The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) said it was disturbed to learn of the brief detention of Committee to Protect Journalist's Angela Quintal and Muthoki Mumo. 

Quintal, a former Mail & Guardian editor, and Mumo were detained on Wednesday night by officers reportedly working with the Tanzanian immigration authority.

The duo were arrested in their hotel room in Dar es Salaam and had their passports confiscated. They were released on Thursday morning but are yet to get their passports back.

 Quintal works as CPJ's Africa program coordinator while Mumo is CPJ's sub-Saharan Africa representative.

Sanef in a statement that it was deeply disturbed to hear of the worrying detention of the two women.

"Sanef calls on the Tanzanian authorities to return their passports as a matter of urgency and allow them to leave the country of their own free will.

"Sanef also welcomes the speedy probe into the matter by the Department of International Relations (Dirco) and calls on Dirco to exert pressure on their Tanzanian counterparts.

The editors' forum further said: "We also welcome the fact that the South African High Commissioner in Tanzania will be meeting with Tanzanian authorities this morning to assess the situation".

"Sanef believes these are very worrying developments. We need to urgently find out the reasons behind this detention. We believe the arbitrary detention of journalists is a direct and dangerous threat to media freedom and access to information."