Ethiopian police arrest Somaliland journalist

Nairobi, July 1, 2016 – Ethiopian authorities should immediately release a television journalist from the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland, Muktar Nuh Ibrahim, who has been held since June 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Farhan Ali Ahmed, the CEO of Muktar’s station Horn Cable TV, which broadcasts from Somaliland, told CPJ that several journalists at the station saw Ethiopian police arrest Muktar in Wajale, a town straddling the border of Somaliland and Ethiopia. The arrest came soon after Muktar reported that Ethiopian police and allied militiamen from the Somali regional state in eastern Ethiopia had killed dozens of villagers on the Ethiopian side of the border region between Ethiopia and Somaliland in early June, Horn Cable TV’s Kenyan director, Abdifatah Mohamed Elmi, told CPJ.

Abdifatah and Farhan said they had not heard any news of the reporter since, and that it was unclear if Ethiopian authorities had charged Muktar with any crime. Ethiopian police and Ministry of Interior officials did not return CPJ’s calls or emails inquiring about Muktar’s arrest, his location, and whether he faces any charges.

“Journalists should not be jailed because a government objects to their coverage,” CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said from New York. “Ethiopian authorities should immediately disclose Muktar Nuh Ibrahim’s whereabouts and whether he has been charged with any crime.”

Abdifatah told CPJ that Horn Cable TV’s signal went dark worldwide on June 20 and remained unavailable until June 26.

Ethiopia’s information minister, Getachew Reda, did not respond CPJ’s request for information on the alleged killings in the border region, or reports that the Ethiopian government had asked the satellite operator that carries Horn Cable TV’s signal to remove its broadcasts from their service.

Horn Cable TV is an independent, privately owned station which broadcasts in the Somali language from its headquarters in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, to audiences in the Horn of Africa and the large Somali diaspora around the world.