New York, August 9, 2005—A radio reporter jailed for five days in Jowhar was released without charge on Sunday, but was expelled from the town and told not to come back, according to the journalist and local sources.
Abdullahi Kulmiye Adow, a reporter for the Mogadishu-based independent radio station HornAfrik, had been detained since 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 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.
“It is outrageous that journalists cannot report freely on the activities of officials who are supposed to be steering the country to peace and democracy,” said Ann Cooper, executive director for the Committee to Protect Journalists. “We call on President Abdullahi Yusuf to ensure an immediate end to arbitrary detentions and harassment of journalists, and allow all media to cover the operations of the TFG in Jowhar.”
Somalia has had no effective central government since the fall of former president Siad Barre in 1991. The TFG was formed at a peace conference in Nairobi, Kenya, last year, but is now split, with dissident ministers and parliamentarians in Mogadishu, and those loyal to Yusuf in Jowhar, 90 kilometers (56 miles) to the north. Yusuf and his supporters say that security conditions do not permit them to go to Mogadishu.