After spending 438 days in Ethiopian jail, Swedish freelance journalists Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson are busy describing their experience. After getting the outlawed guerilla group the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) to allow them embed, Schibbye and Persson were trying to work in the southern part of the country.
They almost immediately ran into trouble, as they described in an interview with Ryan Kohls for Poynter:
What is the timeline from when you entered Ethiopia and when you were arrested?
Schibbye: We crossed on June 27th and immediately it goes wrong. We were chased in the desert for 30 or 40 minutes by the Ethiopian army, but managed to get away. On the evening of June 30th, I hear one gun shot. Seconds later, the whole area exploded with Kalashnikov fire. I got hit in the shoulder and Johan gets hit in the arm.
While they were in captivity, the journalists say they were forced to “confess” on public television to secure their release, and Schibbye says he was forced to participate in his own mock execution.
The men say they were reporting on the impact that a Swedish oil company was having on the region for a story they have been working on since 2009.