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Police target and brutalise journalists covering public protest

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The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the barbaric act that resulted the brief detention and brutalisation of three journalists in Galkayo of Mudug region in central Somalia, and subsequent equipment confiscation.

Ahmed Mohamed Ali (Ano Geel) and Abdiwali Jama Hassan (Agarane), both of them working for Radio Voice of Peace, and Saeed Abdullahi Kulmiye (Nadara) from Kasmaal Media, all of them members of NUSOJ, have been arrested at 10:30am in downtown Galkayo upon arrival at a venue where press conference was scheduled to take place. The press briefing was organized by the business community who were conducting public protest against sudden and unannounced tax increment on essential goods.

Ismael Abdinur Gesey, the very powerful regional accountant of the Puntland Ministry of Finance, arrived at the scene and ordered arrest of the journalists while his bodyguards started beating them up.

“I have sustained visible hand injuries and bruises whereas Saeed had his eyeglasses broken while he was wearing. We have suffered from kicks, punches, and gun butts” said Ahmed Mohamed Ali.  He added that they were taken to the police station where they were kept for an hour before the governor of Mudug region came to their rescue and released them by using his authority.

“We have been unlawfully arrested and unlawfully released.  Our equipment and telephones have been confiscated.  No one told us what we’ve done and why we’ve been arrested” added Ahmed.  He says three video cameras and their cell phones have been taken away.

“Instead of protecting journalists who were just doing their work, Puntland police attacked and brutalised these three innocent journalists. We demand that all police officers who were engaged in today’s act of brutalising the journalists in Galkayo be subjected to the due course of the law immediately. Equally, public officials such as Mr. Ismail Abdinur who are fond of brutalising journalists must be prosecuted,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. 

“Puntland must end giving protection to those who abuse journalists. If today’s act is not addressed, this is what impunity means and we must denounce and challenge the shameful failure of authorities to prosecute the attackers of journalists” added Osman. 

NUSOJ asks President of Puntland Saeed Abdullahi Deni to step in urgently and guarantee the protection of the wellbeing and property of the journalists, and ensure to create conducive environment where they can to carry out their duties.