IFJ Calls for Release of Two Radio Journalists in Somalia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned about the security and safety of journalists in Somalia following the detention of Mohamed Salad Abdulle, of Somali Broadcasting Corporation and correspondent of Markabley radio in Kismayo and Mohamed Abdikarim, a correspondent with Hornafrik and Markabley radio station. The two were arrested on Tuesday 16 March 2010 by the Al Shabaab Administration in Jubba and Gedo regions.

“We firmly condemn these arrests which add to our concerns for the safety of our colleagues in Somalia. This climate of terror against the journalists is unacceptable,” declared Gabriel Baglo, Director of IFJ Africa Office. “Urgent measures are needed urgently to address the situation in this country where journalists continue to pay a heavy price only for doing their work”.

According to media reports, the two journalists who are based in the southern regions of Juba and Gedo regions were arrested separately by the Al-Shabaab group in Kismayo and Baladhawo. Mohamed Salad Abdulle is detained by the Al-Shabaab group at Kismayo police station, according to Jubba Journalists Association (JIJA), an associate of NUSOJ.

The JIJA says his colleague at Markabley radio, Mohamed Abdikarim, was taken in custody on the same day by the Al-Shabaab group in Baladhawo town, also in southern Somalia. Following his arrest, the group reportedly threatened to take action against the radio station. .

The IFJ says the latest arrests show the increasing intimidation by the Al-Shabaab group on journalists in Somalia. On 21 February 2010, Ali Yusuf Adan, a correspondent with Radio Somaliweyn for Lower Shabelle region, was arrested by the Al-Shabaab in the region and was later transferred to a prison in Merca town, the headquarters of Lower Shabelle region.

His captors did not disclose the reason behind his arrest. Adan is still in the custody of the Al-Shabaab and his whereabouts remain unclear.

 “The continued arrests and detention of our members by the Al-Shabaab group has reached an alarming proportion and we condemn such acts in the strongest terms possible,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary-General and IFJ affliate. “Al-Shabaab group’s actions are extremely dangerous to journalists and their work . These actions are deplorable and totally unacceptable. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of these three journalists,” Omar added.

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The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide