Journalists slain as Somalia tops Media Impunity Index
On 5th October 2018, it was reported that defected founder and commander of militant Islamist group al-Shabab, Mukhtar Robow, was barred from running for public office in Somalia. A day after Robow declared his intention to run, the ministry of interior said in a statement that he is unable to put his name forward for the presidency of the country's South-West state as he still faces sanctions. He is the highest ranking al-Shabab militant to defect from the group, despite being one of its founders.
Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing that targeted an EU convoy on 1st October 2018 in Mogadishu, killing three and injuring others. The EU has been funding the African Union-mandated peace-keeping force (AMISOM) which defends Somali’s central government against the Islamists.
On 10th September 2018, The Media Association of Puntland (MAP), the Puntland Non-State Actors’ Association (PUNSAA), and the Office of the Puntland Human Rights Defender (OPHRD), jointly called on the government of Puntland to uphold freedom of expression for journalists and citizens in the region.
On 18th September 2018, photojournalist Abdirizak Saed Osman was killed by unknown assailants while on his way home. Osman worked with the Galkaio’s radio ”Codka Nabada”, however, at the timing of writing, the motive for his murder remains unknown.
MAP chairperson, Mohamed Dahir Warsame said in a briefing:
“Mudug’s regional authorities alongside the Puntland’s State administration must meticulously investigate Abdirizak’s killing, including whether his Journalism profession could have been the motive.’’
In a separate but similar incident, on 27th October 2018, radio journalist Abdullahi Mire Hashi was killed by at least two unidentified gunmen in the town of Elasha Biyah. The gunmen fled the scene immediately after the attack.
In separate developments, on 22nd September 2018, authorities in the Galmudug detained broadcast journalist Mohamed Abdiwali Tohow without officially charging him. The reason for his arrest was 'spreading false news', in connection to a report he broadcast the previous day on the Mogadishu-based Radio Kulmiye, where he said that Al-Shabaab was regrouping in parts of the state.
CPJ Sub-Saharan Africa Representative Muthoki Mumo said:
"That Mohamed Abdiwali Tohow has not been charged with any crime, four days after he was arrested, demonstrates this is little more than an attempt to intimidate and punish the journalist for his reporting …Authorities in Galmudug should immediately release him without charge, and allow journalists to work freely, especially when they report on critical issues."
For the fourth year in a row, Somalia topped the Committee to Protect Journalist's 2018 Global Impunity Index, which documents and ranks countries where attacks against journalist are perpetrated with impunity