Somalia: Series of police attacks on journalists

Two independent journalists were violently attacked by the Federal Somali Police Force (SPF) on 18 July and one journalist was arrested and has been detained incommunicado since 16 July. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemn the latest attacks, amid a rise in unprovoked violence and illegitimate use of force by authorities.

Footage few seconds before one district security officer hits journalist Mohamed Nur Mohamed with a gun. Credit: Arlaadi Media Network on Twitter

The two journalists, Mohamed Nur Mohamed and Munasar Abdirahaman Ahmed, were reporting on flooding and the impact of the lack of road maintenance in Mogadishu districts. They were working for the privately-owned Arlaadi Media Network, as a reporter and cameraman respectively. While reporting in the field, they were set upon by armed police officers, who assaulted them and confiscated their equipment.

Footage capturing part of the confrontation shows a police officer hitting Nur Mohamed with a gun butt before another officer seizes the camera from Ahmed in an effort to stop the recording of the video. The journalists were also detained for several hours before they were released without charge.

In its statement, NUSOJ condemned the violent attack and subsequent brief detention by uniformed officers and demanded that the officers are held to account for their violent attack.

“This action once again shows the deeply entrenched propensity to attack journalists and curtail freedom of the media in Somalia by members of the law enforcement,” said NUSOJ Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman. “We want the new government of Somalia to demonstrate the will to stamp out the routine abuse of journalists’ rights by the security forces”.

In a separate incident, Hassan Ali Daud, a reporter for Arlaadi Media Network was arrested has been detained incommunicado since Saturday 16 July 2022 by the intelligence and security forces in Baidoa, according to the network's Director, Ahmed Ali Nur. Though not officially charged, the forces reportedly accused the journalist of recording a protest by regional parliamentarians who were demanding the resumption of the sessions of the Southwest parliament.

According to a NUSOJ investigation, intelligence agents are even threatening the journalist’s family and close colleagues to prevent them talking about the situation.

NUSOJ has called on the leaders of Southwest State to end ongoing threats that seek to silence journalists and curb media freedom.

“Keeping Hassan Ali Daud in detention beyond the statutory hours without producing him before a court or releasing him is a violation of the law. Daud has neither been informed of the charges under which he is being held nor been summoned before a competent court. This is a very reprehensible action and we demand his immediate and unconditional release without any further delay, ” Osman said.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “We are deeply concerned by these incidents of violence and intimidations against journalists in Somalia. The IFJ condemns both of these violations of journalists' rights and stands with NUSOJ in its call to end attempts to silence the media”. 

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

Follow the IFJ on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Subscribe to IFJ News