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NUSOJ Demands Immediate and Unconditional Release of Detained Journalist in Gedo Region

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The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) urgently demands the immediate and unconditional release of journalist Mohamud Abdirashid Moallim, widely known as Boodboode, who has been unjustly detained for the past five days in Luuq district, Gedo region, denouncing it as a violation of press freedom and unfair treatment of a dedicated journalist.

Mohamud Abdirashid Moallim, a stringer for Radio Ergo, was arrested by local intelligence officials who are currently detaining him, acting under the direct orders of Luuq District Commissioner Dahir Muhumad Nur (Aato). The arrest reportedly came after Ethiopian forces at the border made a call, shortly after Mr. Moallim returned from Washaqo—a small town near the Ethiopian border where he visited close relatives. The area between Luuq and Washaqo, known to be under the control of Al Shabab militants, adds complexity and danger to his journey.

In a telephone call with NUSOJ, the District Commissioner alleged that the journalist was detained for “suspicious activities,” accusing him of covertly recording photos and videos concerning the movements of Ethiopian forces, without providing further details. Moallim's arrest on April 1st, upon his return from Washaqo, appears to stem not only from these allegations but also from a broader context of sensitivity and tension between the journalist and local authorities, who are wary of his independent reporting.

Nima Hassan Abdi, NUSOJ's Acting Secretary-General and Organising Secretary, expressed deep concern over the situation, stating, “It is highly unjust to arrest a journalist under the mere pretext of traveling through an Al Shabab-controlled area to visit relatives. In our investigations and discussions with several people in the Gedo region, this action appears to be indicative of a larger motive, rooted in prejudice and retaliation for his journalistic endeavours.”

NUSOJ is actively involved in securing the release of journalist Mohamud Abdirashid Moallim and supports the ongoing efforts of local journalists. The union has been pressing local authorities to end the intimidation and threats against journalists in the areas they control.

It is important to note that this is not Moallim's first encounter with unlawful detention. On 24 February 2024, he was arrested on orders from the head of the local police force after reporting on police brutality during a public gathering. His release was secured shortly afterward, thanks to the intervention of a regional journalist body.