RSF slams arrest of AJE’s reporter in Mogadishu
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns yesterday’s arrest of Al-Jazeera’s correspondent in Somalia, Hamza Mohamed, and two cameramen, and calls for their immediate release.
Their detention by the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) was confirmed to Radio Dalsan by Abdifatah Halane, a spokesman for the government of Banadir, the region that includes the capital. Their equipment was also seized.
They were arrested on their return from a trip outside the capital, during which they were suspected of visiting territory controlled by the rebel Islamist group Al-Shabaab in order to interview senior Al-Shabaab leaders.
“We call on the Somali authorities to immediately free Al-Jazeera correspondent Hamza Mohamed and the two cameramen, who have been held by the intelligence services since yesterday,” RSF said.
“Journalists are constantly caught in the crossfire of the war between government forces and Al-Shabaab’s armed militants. They are either the victims of deadly reprisals by the militants or they are arrested by the authorities on suspicion of collaborating with Al-Shabaab.”
Their arrest came three days after a NISA raid on the Mogadishu headquarters of the leading national daily Xog Ogaal and the arrest of its editor, Abdi Aden Guled. RSF is relieved to learn that Guled was freed yesterday.
Somalia is ranked 167th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.