In Somalia, three journalists detained in Kismayo

The Interim Jubba Administration in southern Somalia detained three journalists without charge in the span of a week in late December 2013. All were released after a few days.

Security forces on December 28, 2013, arrested two journalists in the southern port city of Kismayo, according to news reports. Nasteho Mohamed, reporter for the private Sky FM station, and Mohamed Hassan, reporter for Radio Kismayo, were taken into custody separately, the reports said. Both were released on December 30, 2013, without any charges being filed against them, the Jubbaland Independent Journalist Association reported.

News accounts reported that Nasteho had recently aired a story that alleged disputes between officials in the Jubba Administration. Local journalists said they suspected the report may have caused the arrest. The newly appointed Interior Minister Mohamed Warsame (known as “Darwish”) also allegedly threatened Nasteho over the phone after the report was broadcast.

The journalist association said Mohamed was arrested after he aired Somali national songs from 1977 that are considered critical of neighboring Ethiopia, a country with whom the Somali government has strategic relations.

The local administration did not comment on the journalists’ detentions. Repeated calls to the spokesman of the Jubba Administration were not answered.

The arrests came six days after Adan Mohamed, a journalist for Somali National TV, was taken into custody. Adan was arrested on December 22, 2013, and held without charge at a military base called Warshada, he said. Aden, the former director of Jubba Radio said he was released after two days and issued an apology.