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Local, int’l journalists groups condemn arrest of Somali press union chief

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Oct 12, 2022 - 12:02 PM

JOHANNESBURG (AA) – Somali journalists have condemned the arrest of a press union leader who was critical of the government’s new directive restricting reporting on the terrorist group al-Shabaab.

Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the secretary general of the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), was arrested on Tuesday evening at Aden Adde International Airport in the capital Mogadishu as he was about to travel to Kenya, according to a statement by SJS.

It claimed that Mumin was transferred to Godka Jilacow, a “notorious” detention facility run by the country’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) near the Presidential Palace. Anadolu Agency was unable to independently verify this.

Members of various Somali journalist unions held a media conference on Monday at the SJS offices in Mogadishu, expressing concern on the new government directive barring them from reporting on the Somalia-based al-Shabaab, a terror group affiliated with Al Qaeda.

The journalists expressed concern that they were not consulted and that the directive could unduly restrict freedom of expression and press freedom in the Horn of Africa nation.

Mumin’s arrest was “an unacceptable aggression,” according to Muthoki Mumo, the sub-Saharan Africa representative of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

The move was “undoubtedly sending a ripple of fear through the Somali media community,” added Mumo in a statement released by the CPJ.

Somali authorities should release Mumin immediately and unconditionally, the non-profit said in its statement, urging them to instead work to create a climate in which journalists could work without fear.

Abdirahman Yusuf Omar, Somalia’s deputy information minister, told the CPJ that Mumin’s arrest did not have to do with journalism or his opinions and said he would share information once “security agencies finalize (the) issue.”

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