Somali reporters targeted for their reporting included a New York Times correspondent and a CPJ International Press Freedom Award winner, while nine other journalists were injured this week while reporting during deadly clashes between government troops and Islamist rebels, according to news reports and CPJ interviews.
On Thursday, police detained award-winning
journalist Mustafa Haji Abdinur and freelance cameraman Yusuf Jama Abdullahi for
taking pictures of their colleague, Associated Press photojournalist Farah Abdi
Warsame, who had been hit by crossfire, according to the National Union of
Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).
Officers at the Criminal Investigation Department interrogated the journalists
for several hours and forced them to delete their photographs, Abdinur told
CPJ. They were released without charge. Warsame was rushed to
Last week, New York Times correspondent Mohammed Ibrahim fled the country following threats from government security forces, he told CPJ. Ibrahim had contributed reporting to a June 13 New York Times article, “Children Carry Guns for a U.S. Ally, Somalia,” concerning child soldiers within the government forces.
“The reaction of the Somali government to these very serious
allegations is both frightening and typical,” said CPJ East Africa Consultant
Tom Rhodes, who is based in
In response to the story, the deputy commander of the Somali military, Adbdulkarim Yusuf Adam, held a June 24 press conference in which he accused those involved in publishing the article of having ties with terrorist organizations, local journalists told CPJ. Adam also declared that all individuals involved—whether foreign or local—would be taken to court, according to the same sources. Government spokesman Abdi Kadir Walayo claimed the article had been fabricated in a June 29 Voice of America interview.
Ibrahim said he received a warning from a friend while at a local restaurant last week that security forces were coming to arrest him, and later heard that more than 20 police officers came to the restaurant after he left. The journalist went into hiding and fled the country on June 26.
The government’s director of communications, Abdirashid Hashi, told CPJ that Ibrahim is “a good friend” and should contact him in order to settle the matter with the security forces.