Somali Security Forces Shut Down Popular Radio Station, Arrest Journalists

MOGADISHU, Somalia — The National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) should immediately release two Radio Shabelle journalists, Ali Ahmed Abdulle and Mohamed Adan Ibrahim, who were arrested this evening for their journalism work, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) said.

NISA raided Radio Shabelle, briefly shuts down the station that took five journalists to NISA regional headquarters for interrogations.

Some minutes after, NISA released three of the five journalists, but currently is still detaining Abdulle and Ibrahim at Godka Jilicow detention center; NISA allowed Radio Shabelle resume broadcasting.

Abdulle, head of news of Radio Shabelle, and Ibrahim, reporter of Radio Shabelle, are being detained to due news reports that Radio Shabelle broadcasted today, regarding an Al-Shabaab raid of the Lafole neighborhood, according to a Radio Shabelle journalist who does not want to be named in fear of his security.

Ali Ahmed Abdulle, head of News of Radio Shabelle.

Ali Ahmed Abdulle, head of News of Radio Shabelle (Photo: Radio Shabelle)

NUSOJ bemoans the frequent usage of NISA against journalists and independent media, without any legal means, and interrogates them if indeed such security agencies exist to go after journalists and curtail their constitutionally guaranteed rights of journalists.

Mohamed Adan Ibrahim, reporter.

Mohamed Adan Ibrahim, reporter. (Photo: Radio Shabelle)

“Security Authorities in the Federal Government are abandoning all restraint in their efforts to intimidate and silence the journalists,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. “Silencing journalists through arrest and intimidation is obnoxious. Security forces must not be used as agents of fear and repression”.

NUSOJ considers this latest arrest of journalists as an act that fits a pattern of Somali security agencies arresting journalists whose media work doesn’t conform to official views, or as appeases the authorities. The arrest of the two journalists is a clear act of intimidation, has little to do with the rule of law, and constitutes gross violations of media freedom as enshrined in the Somali constitution.

“Since when it has become a crime to report a news worthy accident? The Federal Government should immediately release Ali Ahmed Abdulle and Mohamed Adan Ibrahim, and stop hounding journalists for doing their jobs,” declared Osman.

By Omar Nor, ArmedPolitics.

Omar Nor is senior reporter in the field covering the vast East Africa region, focusing on  political issues including scenarios of conflict, with a special focus on Al-Shabaab. Follow Omar on Twitter at @Omaar_nor