Pattern of free speech violations continues in Somalia

Expression

The pattern of free expression violations reported in July on the CIVICUS Monitor continued into September and October. In the most serious of the recent spate of attacks, on 27th September, journalist Abdiaziz Ali was shot dead by unknown assailants who approached him on motorbikes. The reason for his killing is unclear and no one has claimed responsibility.

On 15th October, heavily-armed agents of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) arrested Abdi Adan Guled, editor-in-chief of daily newspaper Xog Ogaal without a warrant. NISA agents also confiscated materials, equipment and archives from the newsroom during the arrest. He was released on 18th October. Media reports indicate that Guled is a longstanding member of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and an activist. On 4th July, he was elected vice-president of NUSOJ.

On the same day as Guled's release, a crew from international broadcaster Al-Jazeera were detained shortly after returning to Mogadishu from an assignment. They were held for two days before being released. Al Jazeera said that the reporter, a fixer and a driver had not formally be been charged. They had visited an area held by Al-Shabaab, where they interviewed some leaders of the militant group, according to Associated Press.

On 25th September authorities arrested journalist Ahmed Mouse Sakaaro in Buroa, Somaliland, according to a report from the Human Rights Centre. Sakaaro runs the independent online news portal Rakaadnews. Authorities accused him of inciting violence by urging journalists 'to defend themselves.' Sakaaro had recently condemned a statement made by the Minister of Presidency who threatened to liberate from the country what he called 'pirate journalists.'