MOGADISHU, Somalia 26 June, 2020 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) strongly condemns the shooting against Radio Danan journalist, Abdifatah Abduqadir Sharif (Iqbal) by a uniformed Somali police officer at Sey Biyano neighbourhood in Hodan District in Mogadishu on Thursday 25 June, 2020 and the seizure of the headquarters of the independent privately-owned Star TV in Hargeisa by Somaliland police on 25 June, 2020.
Approximately 7:45 pm (local time), the radio journalist was heading home from work on a tuk tuk taxi when a bullet shot from behind resulted the journalist to sustain injury on the back of his head, according to Radio Danan director, Mohamed Barre Fiyore who spoke to SJS. Colleagues and family members told SJS that Abdifatah was rushed to the hospital where he underwent a minor surgery on Thursday night and was out of danger as of Friday morning. Abdifatah who spoke to SJS on Friday afternoon said he was waiting for a second surgery before he is discharged.
It was not immediately clear why the police officer shot the journalist and there were no any indications that the officer was arrested. Officials at the Federal Ministry of Information did not comment on the matter when contacted by SJS but officials at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) said they were trying to identify the officer who shot the journalist. SJS calls for a swift and honest investigation into the shooting incident and bring those responsible to justice.
Separately, armed Somaliland police officers, around 1:30 pm (local time) on Thursday, forcibly entered and seized the headquarters of the independent privately-owned Star TV in Hargeisa while ordering journalists and other staff members to vacate the premises. According to Star TV board of management team member, Mohamud Hussein Jama, The police did not provide explanations or any court document to justify their actions.
Meanwhile, the Erigavo-based Sanag Regional Court on Thursday morning ordered the Horyaal TV journalist, Jabir Said Duale (Bulshawi) to be remanded in jail for seven days after he was charged with filming Erigavo youth group’s protest against lack of inclusion into the recently concluded Somali Government-Somaliland talks in Djibouti. Bulshawi was first arrested on 16 June but was released the following day without charges. He was re-arrested on 22 June and was charged with filming an unlawful protest.
According to colleagues, the journalist denied to have recorded the film of the protest, which took place in Erigavo on 15 June but the Sanag Regional Court judge, Sharma’arke Farah Ismail ordered the journalist to be remanded for seven days awaiting trial.
“We condemn the armed attack on Radio Danan journalist, Abdifatah Abduqadir Sharif by a police officer in Mogadishu on Thursday, and the illegal takeover of the Star TV headquarters by the Somaliland police,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said “We call for the federal authorities of Somalia to open a swift and a thorough investigation into the attack against journalist Abdifatah Abduqadir Sharif as we also call for Somaliland authorities to immediately withdraw police from the Star TV headquarters and allow the independent TV to resume its operations and free the imprisoned journalist Jabir Said Duale from Erigavo prison.”