Militia in central Somalia detains six journalists for four days

Ahlu Sunna Waljama, a formerly government-aligned religious militia based in central Somalia, detained six journalists from July 31, 2015, to August 3, 2015, in the central town of Dhusamareb, according to news reports and local journalists.

Ahlu Sunna Waljama had issued a questionnaire to journalists covering the area, which collected personal data and registered them with the armed group, according to news reports and local journalists. Several journalists questioned the directive. The armed group had issued similar decrees in January 2015 and late 2014 in the town of Guricel, central Somalia, the sources said.

On July 31, 2015, members of Ahlu Sunna Waljama tracked down and detained the journalists who declined to fill out the questionnaire, including Abdi Jamal Moalim from local stations Kalsan TV and Radio Bar-Kulan; Mohamed Abdi Mohamed from Somali National TV; and Bashir Mohamoud from Horncable TV. The next day, the militia detained Abdullahi Farah and Leylo Nor of Radio Codka Bartamaha and the station’s director, Nafiso Hersi, according to a local journalist and a report by the National Union of Somali Journalists.

On August 3, 2015, the Ahlu Sunna Waljama released the journalists after consulting with town elders, according to the reports and local journalists who spoke to CPJ. The militia also withdrew the decree.

In May 2015, the militia raided the privately owned station Radio Galgaduud in the south central town of Guricel and shuttered the station for a week after the station aired government election reports that the armed group disputed, according to news reports.