Somali intelligence ‘detain journalists’

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By Mohammed Adam

MOGADISHU, Somalia

A journalists’ labor union in Somalia said Wednesday an al-Jazeera reporter was among four people detained en route to Mogadishu by Somali intelligence.

Mohamed Ibrahim Mo’alimu of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) told Xaqiiqatimes  that the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency, NISA, arrested Hamza Mohamed plus a photographer, fixer and driver on Wednesday morning.

The group was detained while heading to Mogadishu from Jowhar in the Middle Shabelle region.

NISA does not comment on arrests and no reason has been given for the group’s detention.

The journalists’ union called on the Somali government to release the group “urgently” and condemned the reporter’s arrest.

“We call on the Somali government to release the journalist and stop actions against freedom of expression”, Mo’alimu said.

Meanwhile, Mogadishu-based newspaper Xog-Ogal’s editor, Abdi Adan Gulled, was released from NISA custody in Mogadishu after three days’ detention.

Gulled was arrested on Oct. 15 and NISA closed down the newspaper’s office in the Somali capital. Founded in 1991, Xog-Ogal is the longest-running newspaper in Somalia.

Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the arrest and had demanded Gulled’s release.

Last month, the United Nations said it was concerned about Somali freedom of expression.

“The dangers facing media workers and public figures are illustrated by the fact that, between August 2012 and June 2016, a total of 30 journalists and 18 parliamentarians were killed in Somalia,” a UN report said last month.

The report also documents 120 cases of arbitrary arrest and detention of media workers between January 2014 and July 2016.