Nairobi, October 11, 2022—In response to reports of the arrest of Somali press freedom advocate and freelance journalist Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement on Tuesday calling for his immediate release:
“Abdalle Ahmed Mumin is a fearless and tireless advocate for the rights of Somali journalists to report the news freely and independently. His arrest is an unacceptable aggression and is undoubtedly sending a ripple of fear through the Somali media community,” said CPJ sub-Saharan Africa representative, Muthoki Mumo. “Authorities should release Abdalle Ahmed Mumin immediately and unconditionally, and should instead work to create a climate in which Somali journalists can work without fear.”
About 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 11, intelligence personnel at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport arrested Abdalle, cofounder and secretary general of the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), according to the syndicate’s president and cofounder, Mohamed Ibrahim Isak, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app, and Twitter posts from Somali media outlets. Abdalle, who was traveling to Nairobi at the time of arrest, has since been transferred to a detention facility managed by Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency, Mohamed said.
In a tweet published shortly before his arrest, Abdalle reported that intelligence officials had on Monday evening attempted to force entry into the syndicate’s office in Mogadishu, and harassed other tenants in the building. Mohamed said that he believed this raid and Abdalle’s arrest were connected to a Monday press conference, held at the syndicate’s Mogadishu office, in which a group of five local press rights groups condemned a recent government directive broadly banning intentional and unintentional “dissemination of extremism ideology” in the media and by the public.
Somalia’s deputy information minister Abdirahman Yusuf Omar, who also goes by Adala, told CPJ via messaging app that Abdalle’s arrest did not have to do with journalism or the journalist’s opinions. In response to a request to clarify why Abdalle had been arrested, he said he would share information once “security agencies finalize (the) issue.” Abdirahman said the ministry’s directive on extremism ideology was targeted at propaganda by the militant group Al-Shabaab and that the government “will not harm any freedom for its people.”