MOGADISHU, Somalia, 26 April 2021 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) condemns the arbitrary arrests and other threats against journalists in Mogadishu, Galmudug and Somaliland while also calls for the immediate freedom of journalists Adan Abdi Idle and Mohamed Omar Yusuf held in Hargeisa and Galkayo since 13 and 16 April respectively.
On 25 April, Somali police force known as “Dufan or the storm” detained, beat and shot at Radio Hubal journalist Bashir Ali Shire who was live-reporting a violent protest and a gunfight in Karan district in Mogadishu. One armed officer snatched the journalist’s phone and started kicking him and beat with the gun before another officer with a balaclava arrived and shot one bullet towards the journalist, which luckily did not hurt the journalist. According to Bashir, he was taken for interrogation about his journalism and questions included his clan identity before he was released without charge.
On 25 April, Armed NISA officers stopped Universal TV reporters: Mohamed Ibrahim Bulbul and Khalid Maki at gunpoint as they were leaving the scene of violent protest in Karan district in Mogadishu. The officers confiscated the journalists’ camera and ordered to delete the footage they were recording. When the pair demanded explanation, the officers cocked their pistol and threatened to shoot, forcing the two journalists to adhere to the officers’ instruction and deleted their footage.
On 21 April, Galmudug police forces detained independent journalist, Ali Said Mohamed who reports for Mudug Journalist, a facebook news page which covers Galmudug region, after a news report alleging the Galkayo police of soliciting bribes from detainees at the police station. Ali told SJS that after lengthy interrogations and harassment, he was freed on the afternoon of 22 April without charges.
On 16 April, U.S-trained Somali special force “Danab” raided Radio Deegaan, a local independent radio station in southern Galkayo, Galmudug, and detained its journalist Mohamed Omar Yusuf. The soldiers confiscated a laptop computer and a voice recorder during the raid on the radio station and residential houses midnight. According to the radio director and local journalists, Yusuf was held at undisclosed location and was not allowed to contact his family and a lawyer. When SJS contacted Galkayo Mayor of Galmudug, the reason of the raid and the journalist’s detention was not explained.
On 13 April, Somaliland police in Hargeisa detained veteran journalist Adan Abdi Idle. According to a Facebook video he recorded, Idle said that the Governor of Somaliland Central Bank Ali Ibrahim Baghdadi has ordered his arrest over publication of “photos and an article” alleging the Bank Governor of corruption. The journalist, who is held in the Hargeisa police station, has appeared before the Marodi Jeh Regional Court twice on 19 and 26 April. On 26 April, after finding no evidence for the allegations brought by the Bank Governor, the court gave the police seven more days to bring evidences while Idle is remanded in custody.
On 9 April, Galmudug police in Adado detained radio Adado journalist Hashim Omar Hassan after he reported a police gunshot which resulted the death of a young goalkeeper during a football game between Adado and Beledweyne teams in Adado, Galmudug on 9 April. The journalist, who also reports for Five Somali TV, was held at the Adado police station until the next day (10 April) when he was freed without charge, but was told to keep off reporting about police related incidents.