Senegal: CPJ says Somali security forces arrest five journalists in two days

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - Somali security forces arrested five journalists in two separate incidents over the weekend in Mogadishu and three of them were still in confinement Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has reported.

In a statement obtained here by PANA, CPJ disclosed that Somali security forces on Saturday arrested three journalists from independent Radio Risaala and shut down the station.  

The journalists - director Mohamed Abdiwahab Abdullahi, editor Mohamed Kafi Sheik Abukar, and reporter Mohamed Abdi Ali, were have been arrested in connection with a report aired on Friday on a suspected Ebola patient said to be living in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia.

Somalia's Ministry of Health reportedly denied in a press briefing on Saturday that the individual had contracted Ebola.

According to CPJ, the three journalists have not been charged and the radio station remained closed.

However, Somali Government spokesman Abdirahman Omar Osman indicated that negotiation was underway with the security department for the journalists' release.

"Journalists should never be jailed for their work, which involves raising sensitive issues of public interest," remarked CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes. "We call on authorities to immediately release Mohamed Abdiwahab, Mohamed Kafi, and Mohamed Abdi Ali."

The CPJ statement also noted the arrest of two other journalists from a private broadcaster, Radio Goobjoog, on Sunday.

Mohamed Salad Osman, head of programmes at Radio Goobjoog, and reporter Ibrahim Haji Yusuf were reportedly held overnight at Somalia's National Intelligence and Security Agency headquarters in the capital, Mogadishu.

According to reports, the two journalists were released on Monday without the security agents giving any explanation for their move.

CPJ said government spokesman Abdirahman claimed that the reporters were arrested and questioned along with a group of people, who were also at the scene of a deadly car bomb blast in Waberi district of Mogadishu.

He, however, denied that they were held in connection with their work.

The journalists were among the first reporters to arrive at the scene of the bomb explosion, for which the insurgent Al-Shabaab group later claimed responsibility. At least five people were killed in the attack.

-0- PANA MLJ/AR 6Jan2015

06 january 2015 16:39:23




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