IFJ Condemns Further Arrests of Journalists in Somalia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the persistent arrest of journalists in Somalia by the state security agents following the arrest of radio producer Abdifatah Dahir Jeyte, on 16 July, by Puntland Intelligence Service (PIS), a counter-terrorism branch of the north-eastern city of Bossasso in Puntland region. The journalist was released today after a protest of his colleagues and NUSOJ mediation.

Abdirahman Mohammed Habane was also arrested on 12 July by officers from the Criminal Investigation Department in Hargeisa the capital city of the de facto independent republic of Somaliland

“These continued arrest of journalists in Somalia in relation to their work is designed to intimidate them and to prevent critical reports,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. “Journalists must be allowed to perform their duty without any form of intimidation or harassment.”

Abdifatah Dahir Jeyte, working with Radio Voice of Peace based in the city of Bossasso, was arrested on 16 July when about 30 soldiers stormed the offices of the radio station. After searching the offices they ordered Abdifitah to go with them to PIS headquarters in Bossasso, were he remains detained. He is accused of sending inaccurate reports to the news media in Mogadishu, which according to the PIS threatens the security of Puntland and spreads misinformation about the semi-autonomous region.

"We don't understand the reasons behind these baseless allegations. This is an outrageous move which we strongly denounce,” said Omar Faruk, National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) Secretary General.

Abdirahman Mohammed Habane, journalist with Jamhuuriya Daily Newspaper, was arrested following a news report that he made on the inauguration of an elder as a traditional leader. Clashes had subsequently taken place between the elder’s supporters and those opposed to his inauguration. The NUSOJ believe that his arrest was related to these disturbances.

The IFJ condemned in the strongest possible terms these persistent arrests of journalists in Somalia.

“We call on the Transitional Federal Government, and Puntland and Somaliland authorities to release Habane immediately and unconditionally and to ensure that journalists in Somalia work in a safe environment,” IFJ Baglo said.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries