MOGADISHU (AXADLE) Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and Somali Media Association (SOMA) strongly condemn and express their concern over the violent attack and detention of independent journalists in Somaliland.
On March 14, Somaliland police in Borame, the Awdal region detained Horn Cable TV reporter Imran Hussein Adan, a day after covering a vox-pop feature for Horn Cable TV, seeking the views of ordinary citizens on President Muse Bihi Abdi’s visit to US states. The report, which contained various views, including views criticizing the composition of President Bihi’s delegation as “non-inclusive”. According to colleagues and family members, journalist Imran was taken to Borame police station for questioning, where he is being held until today.
At midnight on Friday, March 18, armed plainclothes officers attached to Somaliland’s intelligence unit physically attacked two journalists: Abdisalan Ahmed Awad and Ali Mahdi Jibril as they were driving from a hotel in the center of the capital Hargeisa. The officers, armed with pistols, blocked the journalists’ vehicle midway and fired three bullets before physically hitting both journalists.
“Two vehicles followed us from the hotel. In the middle, one vehicle drove past us and immediately blocked our way. I tried to talk to them, but six men got off and started throwing stones, closing our windows loudly. The other vehicle blocked the road. behind. us, “said Jibril, who was the driver. “I tried to escape, but the men in front fired a bullet. Then they fired the two bullets. I was afraid they might kill us. I stopped the car.”
Both Jibril and Awad said they were towed out of the vehicle when officers shouted “our mission is not to kill”. Both were beaten with pistols and stones. Journalists said their attackers loudly told them to “stop their critical coverage” about President Muse Bihi Abdi.
“I managed to escape. They fired a bullet, but I managed to run to the nearby hotel. Unfortunately, my friend Awad fell to the ground unconscious,” Jibril said.
According to Awad, he was driven to the hospital by another friend after the attackers left. He was discharged Saturday morning.
SJS and SOMA are deeply concerned about the rising attacks, threats and arrests of independent journalists in Somaliland. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Horn Cable TV reporter Imran Hussein Adan, who has been detained since March 14, and to launch an investigation into the violent attack on Abdisalan Ahmed Awad and Ali Mahdi Jibril in Hargeisa on Friday. Evening.
“It is very worrying that armed government officials are behaving beyond the law to physically attack journalists. We are aware that some of these journalists have been threatened several times for criticizing Somaliland’s president,” said Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, Somali secretary general. The Journalists’ Syndicate (SJS) said: “This shows the intolerance of the Somaliland Presidency towards journalists who criticize its policies.”
“We demand that a full investigation be conducted into the incident on Friday night in Hargeisa and that the perpetrators be brought to justice. We also demand the unconditional release of journalist Imran Hussein Adan,” Mumin added.
“Today we express our growing concern at the increased targeting of Somaliland journalists. We thank God that both journalists Abdisalan Ahmed Awad and Ali Mahdi Jibril survived the attack on Friday night. We urge the Somaliland authorities to honestly investigate the incident and arrest the perpetrators, “said Mohamed Osman Makaran, general secretary of the Somali Media Association (SOMA).