The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has today demanded the immediate release of a journalists’ leader Abdi Adan Guled who was arrested last night by the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) at his workplace, and the union says the action is the latest in a series of hostile incidents that are putting the country’s journalists increasingly at risk.

Around 20hrs local time, heavily armed officers of NISA raided Xog-Ogaal newspaper premises – the oldest and leading daily newspaper in Mogadishu, and arrested Abdi Adan Guled, editor-in-chief of the newspaper. During the raid, NISA confiscated all the materials fur publication of the newspapers, as well as computers, archives and cameras.

“This has all the hallmarks of state security harassment and hounding of a leading independent journalist,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. “Abdi Adan Guled is the latest victim in a prevailing situation of persecution of independent voices in the Somali media. Guled should be freed immediately and the authorities must act to end intimidation of journalists”.

Abdi Adan Guled is a long-time trade union member and activist where he has been in the leadership of NUSOJ for the past 10 years. On 4 July 2016, he was elected as Vice-President of NUSOJ at the union’s statutory General Assembly held in Galkayo.

There is no word on charges that may have been made against them. But it is believed that Guled was arrested because of journalism work as a pretext to his union work.

“Instead of pursuing those guilty of intimidating journalists, we see a clear indication of same federal authorities intimidating journalists. The atmosphere for media freedom and independent journalism in Mogadishu is rapidly becoming toxic. We hold the federal government responsible for the safety of our colleague,” added Osman.

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