SOMALIA


Africa cases 2005: Country List    I   Africa Regional Home Page
How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press


JANUARY 13, 2005
Posted: February 10, 2005

Kate Peyton, BBC
KILLED—CONFIRMED

Peyton, a BBC producer, was shot outside her hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Peyton underwent surgery at a local hospital but died later of internal bleeding, according to the BBC.

Initial details were sketchy, but news reports said Peyton was shot outside the Sahafi Hotel, where she had arrived just hours earlier to begin a series of reports on the strife-torn country. Several foreign reporters are based at the hotel, which is heavily guarded, according to CPJ sources. Initial reports conflicted as to whether there was one assailant or more.

Agence France-Presse quoted witnesses as saying that assailants targeted Peyton before speeding off in a white sedan. The vehicle was later found abandoned in a central Mogadishu neighborhood, Mohammed Warsame Doleh, the acting police chief, told AFP.

The BBC said Peyton had spent the last 10 years in Africa and was based in Johannesburg. She had worked for the BBC since 1993 and had also worked as a producer and trainer for the South African Broadcasting Corporation in Johannesburg. The BBC said she would be greatly missed.

Peyton, 39, had arrived in Mogadishu earlier Wednesday with BBC reporter Peter Greste, according to the BBC. Foreign reporters have recently returned to Mogadishu, where a transitional reconciliation government may be installed. Somali officials are in Mogadishu assessing conditions for the government, elected last year by a peace conference in neighboring Kenya, to return to Somalia.

Violence and lawlessness are rife in Somalia, which has had no effective central government since the fall of dictator Siad Barre in 1991.

JANUARY 28, 2005
Posted: February 7, 2005

HornAfrik Radio
ATTACKED

Two unidentified men threw two grenades at the premises of private radio station HornAfrik in the capital, Mogadishu, at around 10 p.m., according to local press freedom group SOJON. The grenades exploded, but the station confirmed that there were no serious casualties or serious damage to property. It said the attackers fled, and the motive was not known.

HornAfrik is a leading private station that also rebroadcasts international programs from the Voice of America and the BBC.

HornAfrik managing partner Ahmed Abdisalam Adan told CPJ that while no one had claimed responsibility for the attack, the radio station and many observers in Mogadishu blamed local Islamic extremist groups. He said some minority fundamentalist groups had used Friday prayers to condemn HornAfrik as "anti-Islamic" and accuse it of serving "foreign interests."

Abdisalam said the attack came on the same day that an extremist Islamic group that had taken over the Italian Cemetery in Mogadishu preached to their followers that "anti-islamic" media with "foreign interests" had "fabricated public disapproval to the removal of non-Muslim bones from the Muslim cemetery." Militia from the city's Islamic courts took over the cemetery in mid-January, exhumed the human remains of some 700 graves, and dumped them near Mogadishu Airport, according to reports on the BBC Web site.


MARCH 22, 2005
Posted: March 23, 2005

Ahmed Suleyman Dhuhul, Radio Hargeisa
Hoodo Axmed Qarbooshe, Radio Hargeisa
HARASSED

Dhuhul and Qarbooshe, reporters for government-owned Radio Hargeisa in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, were fired from their jobs after they were accused of working for Horyaal Radio, a pro-opposition station based in the United Kingdom. Horyaal had begun broadcasting into Somaliland via shortwave and Internet only days earlier, according to CPJ sources.

Dhuhul was detained overnight by Somaliland authorities before being released without charge. Qarbooshe was arrested the following day and held for several hours, also without charge.

According to Horyaal's Web site, www.horyaal.net, the Somaliland Information Ministry accused the station of being "illegal, clandestine radio." Private radio stations are banned in Somaliland, which declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 but is still seeking international recognition.


APRIL 20-28, 2005
Posted: May 4, 2005

Shacab

HARASSED
Abdirashid Qoransey, Shacab
Abdi Farah Nur, Shacab
HARASSED, LEGAL ACTION

Security forces in the autonomous Puntland region attacked the premises of the weekly newspaper Shacab (Voice of the People) in the town of Garowe, breaking the front gate and damaging the editor's car and other property, according to the newspaper's editor and local press freedom groups. The same day, security forces arrested Shacab reporter Abdirashid Qoransey in connection with articles criticizing the Puntland authorities. Qoransey was held at a police station for about four hours, but was released after his editor, Abdi Farah Nur, negotiated on his behalf.

The following day, police came looking for Farah, who was not at Shacab's office at the time. Farah told CPJ that he went later that day to the police station, where he was arrested and detained for three days. He said police told him that his arrest was in connection with two items published in Shacab: an article suggesting that citizens with complaints about the Puntland government contact their representatives in parliament; and a reader's letter criticizing the authorities.

On the night of April 23, police returned to Shacab offices and rearrested Qoransey, according to Farah. The following day both men were brought to court in Garowe and charged with inciting the public and insulting President Adde Muse Hirsi. The charges were dismissed and they were released the same day. However, local journalists and press freedom organizations say official harassment of Shacab has continued.

Farah said Information Ministry officials visited the newspaper on April 28 and questioned staff about the newspaper's license. He said he received a letter from the Information Ministry, dated that day, that warned him against publishing the newspaper without permission and without paying certain taxes. Shacab managers say the newspaper is licensed and that they will pay legally required taxes.


MAY 3, 2004
Posted: June 10, 2005

Mohamed Halane, HornAfrik
ATTACKED
Nuradin Mualin Muktar, Baydhabo.com and Midnimo.com
ATTACKED

Halane, a reporter for private radio HornAfrik and Mualin, an online journalist, were injured in a huge blast at a Mogadishu stadium, where they were covering a rally by Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi. At least 15 people were killed in the blast and dozens were injured, according to news reports.

Gedi, who was not harmed, said the explosion was accidental. He told the BBC that a security guard had accidentally set off a grenade. This was his first visit to the Somali capital after being appointed last year by a peace conference in Kenya. Gedi's tour was designed to boost support for his transitional federal administration and end a dispute among lawmakers about where and when the Somali government, now based in Kenya, should relocate.

Managers at HornAfrik told CPJ that Halane, who was struck in the leg by shrapnel, returned to work on May 23. Mualin also recovered from his injuries, according to CPJ sources.


MAY 5, 2005
Posted: May 17, 2005

Shacab

CENSORED, HARASSED

Authorities in the autonomous region of Puntland ordered the closing of the weekly newspaper Shacab for allegedly inciting violence, according to CPJ sources. The decree cited the government's constitutional responsibility to uphold the unity of Puntland.

The decree was signed by Vice President Hassan Dahir Afqurac on behalf of President Adde Muse Hirsi, who was traveling abroad, according to the Somali Journalists Network (SOJON). It ordered Shacab "temporarily suspended" for an undetermined period for publishing unspecified articles that it claimed could lead to unrest.

Shacab has been the target of ongoing government harassment. In April, Shacab editor Abdi Farah Nur and reporter Abdirashid Qoransey were detained, tried, and acquitted on charges of incitement and insulting the president. Those charges were based on a mid-April article suggesting that citizens with complaints about the Puntland government contact their representatives in parliament, and a reader's letter criticizing authorities, according to Farah.

Farah told CPJ that official harassment of the newspaper has continued since their release on April 24. Government officials have made several visits, raising questions about the newspaper's license and demanding payment of "taxes."

MAY 24, 2005
Posted: June 9, 2005

Abdallah Nurdin Ahmad, HornAfrik
ATTACKED

Veteran journalist Nurdin was wounded in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, when an unidentified gunman fired three times at close range, according to CPJ sources. Nurdin, a senior producer at the private radio station HornAfrik, underwent surgery at Medina Hospital and was recovering.

Ali Iman Sharmake, HornAfrik's co-manager, told CPJ it was not clear why Nurdin was targeted, but it could have been for his work as a journalist. Nurdin also owns a snack bar, and some sources said a dispute over that business could have sparked the shooting. The attack occurred at the snack bar.

Iman described Nurdin as the "godfather of Somali journalists," a well-known playwright, and a songwriter. Nurdin hosts a weekend entertainment program for HornAfrik, and he produces and provides the voice for advertisements, according to Iman.

One local press freedom group, the Somali Press Freedom Violation Monitors, said Nurdin was thought to have been shot for his radio station work and that HornAfrik journalists and staff had been targeted before. The Somali Journalists Network (SOJON) told CPJ its investigations pointed to a business motive.


JUNE 5, 2005
Posted: June 7, 2005

Duniya Muhyadin Nur, Capital Voice

KILLED

Radio journalist Duniya Muhyadin Nur was shot to death on Sunday while covering a protest in Afgoye, some 18.6 miles (30 km) from the capital of Mogadishu.

Muhyadin, 26, was a reporter for the Mogadishu-based radio station Capital Voice, owned by the HornAfrik media company. She was covering a driver's blockade on the Mogadishu-Afgoye road, according to HornAfrik director, Ahmed Abdisalam Adan. The drivers were protesting the proliferation of militia roadblocks. As they were attempting to stop private traffic, a gunman fired into the back of Muhyadin's taxi, Abdisalam told CPJ. The bullet passed through the front seat and hit Muhyadin, who died instantly.

The gunman was identified as the co-worker and passenger of a protesting trucker, according to CPJ sources. Abdisalam confirmed reports that the gunman had fled, but that the truck and its driver were apprehended by the self-appointed administrative head of Afgoye.

Somalia has had no functioning central government since the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in 1991. Militia leaders have carved the country into rival fiefdoms, many of them wracked by violence. In February, BBC producer Kate Peyton was shot dead outside her hotel in Mogadishu. And in May, veteran journalist Abdallah Nurdin Ahmad, who also works for HornAfrik, was wounded by an unidentified gunman.

JUNE 19, 2005
Updated: July 25, 2005

Abdi Farah Nur, Shacab
IMPRISONED

Police in the autonomous Puntland region of northeast Somalia arrested Farah, editor of the weekly Shacab (The People), after the newspaper resumed publication in defiance of an indefinite government suspension. Farah was not immediately charged, but was being held in a Garowe jail, Shacab General Manager Abdirahman Abdulle told CPJ.

On June 23 a court ordered his transfer to a top-security prison for an undetermined period, pending investigations. Abdulle told CPJ that the newspaper's management had decided to resume publication after failing to persuade authorities to lift the May suspension order.

On May 5, the Puntland government ordered Shacab "temporarily suspended" for an undetermined period for publishing unspecified articles that it claimed could lead to unrest. A presidential decree issued after a cabinet meeting cited the government's constitutional responsibility to uphold the unity of Puntland. Fearing arrest at the time, management decided to suspend publication while seeking to contest the ban via legal representation and negotiation, according to Abdulle. But, he said, authorities showed no sign that they would lift the suspension any time soon.

In April, Shacab editor Farah and reporter Abdirashid Qoransey were detained, tried, and acquitted on charges of incitement and insulting the president. Those charges were based on a mid-April article suggesting that citizens with complaints about the Puntland government contact their representatives in Parliament; and a reader's letter criticizing authorities, according to Farah.

Farah was released without charge on July 5. However, the suspension order remains in place, and Farah still fears for his security, according to local sources.

JUNE 30, 2005
Updated: July 25, 2005

Sheekh Aduun (also known as Abdirisak Omar Ismail), STN
Awale Jama, STN
Mohamed Ilke Ase, STN
IMPRISONED
Staff of STN in Bossasso
HARASSED
STN radio
CENSORED

Sheekh Aduun, director of the local radio affiliate of the private STN network, and Awale Jama, an editor at the station, were arrested on June 30 and placed in police detention in Bossasso, a city in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, according to local sources.

Puntland authorities shuttered the Bossasso station the same day, STN director Omar Nur Guutaale told CPJ from Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. In the afternoon, police brought all the rest of STN's Bossasso staff to the same cell and held them overnight, Aduun later told CPJ. He said most of them were released the following morning but that he, Awale Jama and Ilke Ase—a reporter— were transferred to the central prison.

Local sources told CPJ that the arrests stemmed from the radio station's reporting on the mayoral campaign in Bossasso. Police officers told the Somali Journalists Network (SOJON) that the journalists were accused of broadcasting "false information," and that their arrests were ordered by Puntland's public prosecutor. Jama and Aduun (whose real name is Abdirisak Omar Ismail) were imprisoned following a broadcast interview with one of the mayoral candidates, SOJON reported.

Puntland Information Minister Abdirisak Abdulle Gesod told CPJ that he was not aware of the arrests.

Aduun, Awale Jama and Ilke Ase were freed without charge on July 12.

AUGUST 2, 2005
Posted: August 17, 2005

Abdullahi Kulmiye Adow, HornAfrik
IMPRISONED, HARASSED

Adow, a reporter for the Mogadishu-based independent radio station HornAfrik, was detained on August 2 by militia loyal to local faction leader Mohamed Dhere. Dhere is a supporter of Somalia's Transitional Federal President Abdullahi Yusuf, who recently established a temporary headquarters in Jowhar.

Adow was released without charge on August 7, but was expelled from the town. Adow said through an interpreter that he was transported out of Jowhar under armed guard and told not to return.

Adow's arrest came after he reported that officials of the Transitional Federal Government had taken over Jowhar school buildings for their operations, displacing some 1,500 students, according to CPJ sources. HornAfrik managing partner Ahmed Abdisalam Adan told CPJ that his station now considered it too dangerous to send a reporter to Jowhar.

SEPTEMBER 26, 2005
Posted October 17, 2005

Awale Jama Salad, STN

IMPRISONED

Authorities in the Puntland city of Bossasso arrested an STN radio editor in connection with his reporting on prison conditions, according to the Somali journalists union NUSOJ and a local source. Awale Jama Salad was detained for the second time in recent months.

The arrest stems from Awale Jama's reports in July on his previous imprisonment, according to NUSOJ and the local source. Those reports, broadcast on STN and picked up by some local newspapers, alleged that officials at Bossasso prison were taking bribes to free prisoners, and that conditions in the jail were so bad they were causing the spread of disease. Authorities are accusing Awale Jama of defamation and publishing false information, although he has not been officially charged, NUSOJ said.

Awale Jama was jailed in Bossasso central prison for nearly two weeks in July, along with Sheekh Aduun, director of the local radio affiliate of the private STN network, and STN reporter Mohamed Ilke Ase. Local sources told CPJ that their imprisonment stemmed from the radio station's reporting on the mayoral campaign in Bossasso. They were later freed without charge.

In May, the Puntland government banned the weekly newspaper Shacab following a campaign of harassment. When editor Abdi Farah Nur tried to defy the ban in June, he was imprisoned for more than two weeks without charge. He fled the country in fear for his security and Shacab remains closed.

NOVEMBER 28, 2005
Posted: December 8, 2005

Ahmed Mohammed Aden, Gedonet Online and Jubba FM Radio
IMPRISONED

Reporter Aden was jailed in the southern city of Kismayo following an online story claiming that the Jubba Valley Alliance faction had been importing arms in violation of a U.N. arms embargo, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) reported.

The JVA faction, which controls Kismayo, accused him of posting "false information" in an article on the Gedonet Online Web site, according to NUSOJ. Aden also works for private radio station Jubba FM in Kismayo and is a prominent member of NUSOJ.

Somalia has had no functioning central government since the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in 1991. A Transitional Federal Government (TFG) established under a 2004 peace accord remains divided between factions based in the town of Jowhar and the capital Mogadishu. JVA leader Barre "Hirale" Aden Shire is reconstruction minister in the TFG.

Aden was freed without charge on December 2, NUSOJ reported.