MARIA PIA BELTRAN / AIPS: Tensions have escalated, ahead of the World Cup qualyfing play-off between Burkina Faso and Algeria, after two Algerian journalists were arrested on charges of espionage.

Journalist Abdelmalek Addad, and photographer Alaa Eddine Bouymout of the Arabic Algerian daily Ennahar, were arrested on October 5, for spying after they took photos from the stands in August 4 Stadium which hosts Friday’s match.

Fellow Algerian journalist Omar Kharoum said: “They were asked about what they were doing around the stadium and were told it is forbidden to take photos and images without prior permission from the police.

“They were initially charged with espionage and the police confiscated their mobiles, and they were questioned by agents who wanted to know why they took the pictures.

“After several hours in custody at the police station and after the intervention of the ambassadors of Algeria and Burkina Faso, both journalists were released and were able to return to their hotel and have since been able to travel and work freely under the direction of Ennahar Daily Newspaper.”