MOGADISHU, Somalia 22 October, 2020 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and Somali Media Association (SOMA) jointly welcome the release of Radio Kulmiye journalist, Abdullahi Kulmiye Addow who was arbitrary detained and held incommunicado since Saturday night 17 October 2020, by the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) in Mogadishu over an interview deemed critical to the government.
The journalist was released on midday Thursday 22 October on a condition that his radio withdraws the interview with a local businessman who allegedly criticized Somali government and supported the armed group al-Shabaab. To comply with NISA’s demand, the radio management subsequently canceled the interview, which was scheduled to be aired on Thursday 22 October, according to Radio Kulmiye director, Burhan Dini Farah.
After his freedom, journalist Addow, who complained from extreme fatigue due to the lengthy detention and sleepless nights, has confirmed to SJS and SOMA that he was held incommunicado since Saturday midnight at the notorious Godka Jila’ow prison which is a detention centre actively used by NISA. In an interview with Radio Kulmiye later on Thursday, Addow also described how he was arrested on Saturday when armed NISA officers accompanied by military officers raided his house.
“It was around midnight when NISA officers, some of them plain-clothed and armed with pistols broke into my home. Also military officers attached to the Office of Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble accompanied them,” Abdullahi Kulmiye Addow said “They told me to follow them because I was scared for the safety of my family who were at the home at that time. They took me to the jail where I was held.”
SJS and SOMA are relieved by the freedom of journalist Abdullahi Kulmiye Addow, however, we are concerned by the level of intimidation and harassment subjected to journalist Addow, his family and the entire journalists and staff of Radio Kulmiye during the period of his detention.
The ban of the interview by Radio Kulmiye is a spiteful act of censorship and a blatant attempt by the Somali federal authorities to stifle freedom of expression ahead of the national elections later this year and early next year.
“We welcome the freedom of our colleague Abdullahi Kulmiye Addow as we condemn the raid on his home on Saturday and the intimidations that followed,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said “Somali federal authorities should stop using NISA and other security forces to attack and harass journalists and media houses aiming to silence the critical voices.”
“SJS and SOMA jointly call for an investigation into the officers who raided journalist Abdullahi Kulmiye Addow’s house on Saturday, including those allegedly from the Office of Somali Prime Minister,” Mohamed Abduwahab Abdullahi, the Secretary General of Somali Media Association (SOMA) said “We are also concerned by the increased violence on journalists and the independent media in the country recently.”