Nairobe: Burundi police said Friday they had arrested two respected foreign journalists and Africa experts as they reported on gunmen opposed to the government in the volatile nation.
French journalist Jean-Philippe Remy, Africa bureau chief for French daily Le Monde, and British photojournalist Phil Moore, were arrested on Thursday afternoon, they said.
Both have covered the region for years winning several awards for their work.
"The two foreigners were arrested in the company of armed criminals," the security ministry said in a statement.
Presidential press chief Willy Nyamitwe said the pair were among 17 people arrested by police.
Police said a mortar, a Kalashnikov rifle and pistols were also seized in the raid in Nyakabiga, a Bujumbura suburb and anti-government protest hotspot.
"They have not been charged, we are still at the investigation stage," said police deputy spokesman Moise Nkurunziza.
"If there is no evidence against them, they will be released, of course," he added.
An official in the communications ministry told AFP the two journalists had been questioned overnight and were being "detained in a secret location" while enquiries continue.
The Foreign Correspondents` Association of East Africa (FCAEA) said it was, "extremely concerned about the arrests of our esteemed and dear colleagues, Phil Moore and Jean-Philippe Remy yesterday in Burundi".
Moore has frequently worked for AFP and other international publications, winning widespread recognition for his photographs of conflicts in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Libya, Somalia and Syria.
Remy is a correspondent for Le Monde who has won several awards, including the 2013 Prix Bayeux-Calvados for his coverage of the war in Syria.