The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has strongly condemned the wave of arbitrary arrests against journalists operating in the Southern port town of Kismayo, where three journalists, one of them female were arrest in seven days.
At around 22:00 hours on Friday, 28 December, forces of Interim Juba Administration raided home of Nasteho Mohamed Omar, Reporter of Mogadishu-based Sky FM and arrested her. Senior official of the Kismayo administration reportedly threatened the female journalist that she barred to report in Kismayo.
In the same day, Interim Juba Administration arrested journalist Mohamed Hassan Hiis, which makes him the third journalist to be arrested in Kismayo within seven days after journalist Adan Mohamed Salad (known Adan Kismayo), reporter of Somali National TV in Kismayo, was briefly arrested earlier.
“The arrests of three journalists in Kismayo is a clear demonstration of the growing intolerance and disrespect of the media work by the Interim Juba administration,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.
Earlier in the week, the Juba authorities told the female journalist Nasteho Mohamed Omar that she would face punishment if she had filed a single report, but the journalist who continued her job was finally snatched from her home over night as a result of the journalistic work she was doing.
Nasteho’s relatives who were reached for comment by NUSOJ said that the regional state vice president General Abdullahi Sheik Ismail ordered the arrested female journalist’s father to come to the region’s administrative compound.
“We demand the immediate and unconditional release of the two journalists currently in detention,” said Osman.
Journalists in Kismayo have been filing critical news reports about the actions of the new interim Juba administration to their respective media houses in Mogadishu, which the administration did not like. Journalists who report critically about the administration have faced threats in the past few weeks.
“The Juba administration may not relish journalists investigating its actions, but it has no right to detain them Illegally as we are currently witnessing,” added Osman.