MOGADISHU, Somalia 19 July 2022 –Somali Media Association (SOMA) and the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) call for South West State (SWS) authorities to immediately and unconditionally free journalist Hassan Ali Daud held in undisclosed detention by South West State intelligence officers in Baidoa since Friday 15 July, as we also call for the federal authorities in Mogadishu to hold officers who attacked two reporters on Monday 18 July accountable.
On Friday 15 July, journalist Hassan Ali Da’ud, who reports for Arlaadi Media Network (AMN) has disappeared from his home in Baidoa after he was detained and taken to unknown location by the intelligence officers. According to colleagues and family, his detention follows his coverage about a complaint made by members of South West State (SWS) opposition lawmakers who spoke about a physical attack by South West State president Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed (Laftagareen)’s security guards in Baidoa on 6 July. The report was broadcasted on AMN.
Sources in Baidoa told SJS and SOMA that the journalist is held in undisclosed detention facility run by the South West State intelligence in Baidoa. His family confirmed that they had not heard or seen him since Friday. South West State’s information minister, Ilyas Ali Nur, did not provide response and said he will call back when contacted by SJS for the journalist’s case.
Separately, police and military officers in Mogadishu’s Wadajir district on Monday attacked, shot at, beat and detained two Arlaadi Media Network (AMN) journalists. AMN television reporter, Mohamed Nur Mohamed and cameraman Munasar Abdirahman were conducting interviews on the impact of roads blocked by the ongoing rains due to lack of maintenance in Wadajir neighbourhood when two armed officers came and shot at them before starting to beat the two journalists on the barrel of their guns, as confirmed by AMN director, Ahmed Ali, who spoke to SJS and SOMA. The journalists were later detained at the Wadajir police station and their equipment confiscated and destroyed. According to Mohamud Nur Mohamed, they were both freed on Monday evening and were not charged.
“My cameraman and I were beaten by two officers. We were conducting interviews with the members of the public when they caught us off-guard. I heard two gunshots aimed at us. I did not know why he was shooting at us. Then suddenly, they started beating us with their guns,” said Mohamed Nur Mohamed when later
interviewed by SJS and SOMA. “Our camera was broken and our memory cards and microphones confiscated by the two officers who beat us. They have not returned yet.”
“We demand the immediate release of journalist Hassan Ali Da’ud who is held incommunicado since Friday by SWS intelligence unit. Snatching a journalist from his home in a broad daylight and holding him in undisclosed detention without the knowledge of his family and colleagues and without a legal justification is a fundamental human rights violation. Those who did should be held accountable,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary-General of the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said. “We strongly condemn the armed attack by the Wadajir district police and military officers against Mohamed Nur Mohamed and Munasar Abdirahman. This is unacceptable wave of violence targeted on media freedom and we will not watch. We know the officers who carried out this attack and we will take them to the military court.”
“First of all, we demand an end to the increased violence on journalists and the media stations. We call on security officials and senior government officials in Baidoa and in Mogadishu to take immediate action against their officers who are committing these attacks. Hassan Ali Daud should be released immediately,” Mohamed Osman Makaran, the Secretary-General of the Somali Media Association (SOMA) said.
Meanwhile, SJS and SOMA are calling for Somaliland’s minister of information, Saleban Yusuf Ali (Koore) to withdraw his unlawful decision on Tuesday to ban the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)’s Somali service from operating in Somaliland. Minister Koore’s accusation that “BBC has degraded the honor and dignity of Somaliland” is inexcusable and is only intended to stifle free reporting and to hinder the work of the independent journalists ahead of its long-delayed presidential election scheduled for November 2022.