Somalia Shabaab assaults dampened by media crackdown

Hirshabelle Police Commissioner Hassan Dhiesow Hassan (with microphone) flanked by senior law enforcement officials in Beleweyne, Hiran Area. Somalia’s ongoing victories towards al-Shabaab militants may very well be broken by overzealous officers cautious of crucial media, press freedom lobbyists warned on Friday. PHOTO | HIRSHABELLE POLICE

Somalia’s ongoing victories towards al-Shabaab militants may very well be broken by overzealous officers cautious of crucial media, press freedom lobbyists warned on Friday.

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On the day Somalia’s assault on Al-Shabaab gained new floor after forces captured the city of Runirgoud, the extremists’ final stronghold in Center Shabelle, authorities officers additionally cracked down on journalists who reported the resurgence of extremist fighters in beforehand seized cities.

The city, about 240 km northeast of the capital Mogadishu, contributed to the latest victories celebrated by the Somali Nationwide Military (SNA) and cooperating village guards.

And in keeping with Common Abdullahi Ali Anod, the spokesman for Somalia’s Ministry of Protection, a contingent of the SNA backed by native vigilantes captured Runirgoud from Al-Shabaab in a vicious battle on Thursday.

However the morale-boosting good points have been instantly dampened with reviews that officers in the identical federal state of Hirshabelle had raided and shut down a media home for reporting on Al-Shabaab’s recapture of some territories.

On Thursday, Hirshabelle police forces attacked radio station Hiranweyn, an unbiased radio station round Beledweyne. And in keeping with an announcement by the Nationwide Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), police ordered the radio station to be shut down and arrested program producer Mustaf Ali Adow and information anchors Abdirahman Moallim Muse and Abdimajid Abdirahman Adan, and Kafi Osman Idow, editor of the station.

The order had come from Hiran Area Governor Ali Jeyte Osman performing on the orders of Hirshabelle President Ali Abdullahi Hussein Gudlawe.

The station had reportedly angered the authorities for reporting the resurgence of Al-Shabaab fighters in a number of the liberated areas of the Hiraan area, angering state President Gudlawe, who had used this week’s cupboard assembly to reveal a liberated state, significantly within the areas Center Shabelle and Hiraan. by the federal authorities.

The 4 journalists have been launched on Friday morning with out cost and the station was allowed to return to broadcasting. However NUSOJ says the incident confirmed journalists nonetheless appeared on the mercy of authorities in Somalia, amid the struggle to defeat al-Shabaab.

“Journalists are natural allies for peace and stability anywhere in the country and reporting a newsworthy story is not a crime that warrants such an unacceptable raid, suspension and arbitrary arrest of journalists,” NUSOJ Secretary Common Omar Faruk Osman stated in an announcement.

“It clearly reflects that the Hirshabelle administration carried out a targeted attack to curtail media freedom. The war on terrorists must not turn into a war on journalists who have a responsibility to tell the truth and enable people’s right to know even if this information makes politicians uncomfortable.”

After witnessing comparable actions in Galmudug State, NUSOJ warned federal member states to not copy comparable oppressive acts because the marketing campaign towards al-Shabaab continues as this can have far-reaching and devastating results on media freedom and subsequently on Somalia’s transition to democracy, peace and stability.

“Reporting on a newsworthy matter by any newsmaker is legitimate media work and the decision to report is solely up to the journalist and the editors without interference or threats from the authorities.”

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has inspired civilians to take up arms and voluntarily assist the Somali Nationwide Military to struggle again towards Al-Shabaab. And vigilantes have emerged in states like Hirshabelle, Galmudug and South West to affix the struggle.

NUSOJ says it helps the rally name.

By ABDULKADIR KHALIF, AGGREY MUTAMBO

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