|JANUARY 10, 2003|
Militiamen allegedly hired by wealthy local businessman Mohamed Daylaf stormed the offices of the private radio and television broadcaster Hornafrik in the late afternoon and forced the station's staff to switch off all equipment and stop broadcasting.
Journalists at the station said the takeover stemmed from a news item Hornafrik had recently broadcast that quoted a book by an Ethiopian scholar who alleged that Daylaf had business relations with the militant Islamic group Al-Ittihad al-Islamia. The U.S. government has said that the group has links to al-Qaeda.
Hornafrik journalists said Daylaf also has close relations with Somalia's interim president, Abdulkassim Salat Hassan, who has had tense relations with the station at times and may have authorized the closure.
The takeover of the station's offices ended later that night, after local elders intervened to mediate between the gunmen and the station's staff.
JANUARY 24, 2003
Abdullahi Madkeer, DMC Radio
Madkeer, a journalist with DMC Radio, was accidentally shot in the stomach by members of the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA) militia while covering the reopening of Baidoa Airport in the southwest of the country, according to the Somali Journalists' Network (SOJON) and the Action Alert Group, a press freedom organization. He was taken to a hospital and died that day after doctors refused to operate on him because he was HIV-positive.
The shooting occurred while militia belonging to the RRA faction of Shaykh Adan Madobe fired on the airport crowd to drive them back from an aircraft with a cargo of the narcotic khat. The airport had just reopened after months of war between rival RRA factions in the region.
SOJON quoted Madkeer's father as saying that there has been no investigation into his son's death because of civil war and lawlessness in Baidoa Region. According to SOJON, Madkeer's death has left his family destitute.
Madkeer's station, DMC Radio, was later forced to close after local fighters from RRA factions requisitioned its offices.
APRIL 16, 2003
Omar Faruk Osman, Ruunkinet.com
Faruk, Mogadishu correspondent for Ruunkinet.com, a London-based Web site featuring news and commentary on Somalia, was hunted by militia of the Transitional National Government (TNG) in connection with a photograph posted on the site on March 26, according to local journalists' organizations. Faruk is also secretary-general of the Somali Journalists' Network (SOJON).
Faruk told CPJ that he had received warnings from the TNG presidential staff about the photograph, which featured the faces of TNG President Abdiqasim Salad Hassan and various warlords pasted onto the bodies of football players and a caption saying this was the "team" responsible for the failure of peace in Somalia. Faruk said he had received previous warnings from TNG staff, notably after a BBC interview on September 29, 2002, during which he criticized a new draft Press Law and called the TNG weak.
On April 16, friends called Faruk to say that TNG militia had come looking for him several times, at the offices of both SOJON and the Xiddiga Xamar (Xamar Star) newspaper, where he went frequently. Friends warned him he was in danger, and he went into hiding in north Mogadishu early on the morning of April 17. According to Faruk, TNG militia continued hunting him, and he escaped to Nairobi, Kenya, on April 20.
JUNE 25, 2003
Makahil Rashid Barre, Shabele Radio
Reporter Rashid, of Shabele Radio, was arrested in the port town of Merca and detained by authorities of the Transitional National Government (TNG). His detention came after the station aired a June 23 report by Rashid about the destruction of a market in Merca by TNG military forces, according to the management of Shabele Radio and the Somali Journalists' Network.
Sources at Shabele Radio told CPJ that TNG military forces threatened Rashid with death if he reported again on military affairs. The radio's management also said that Rashid was tortured and beaten while in detention. Rashid told CPJ he was detained for about eight hours and released the same day. He was freed after Radio Shabele management and local residents demanded his release. However, Rashid said he has left Merca Region because he fears for his life.
AUGUST 23, 2003
Dahir Abdulkadir Ahmed ("Aflow"), Yamayska
Adan Nur Mohamed, Bulsho
Aflow, of the weekly Yamayska, and Nur, of the weekly Bulsho, were detained by police in Galkayo, in the autonomous region of Puntland, and jailed for about 30 hours. The detention came after Yamayska published an August 19 report on the corrupt sale of state property by a local official, according to the two journalists and local press freedom groups. Aflow wrote the article, which Nur subsequently reprinted in Bulsho. Local journalists believe that the mayor of Galkayo, Hussein Jama Yabaq, ordered the detention.
Aflow told CPJ that he was roughed up during detention. He said the two journalists were not given any reason for their detention, and that they were released after pressure from Puntland officials and from the local community. Journalists in Galkayo say the mayor is still threatening to close Yamayska, according to the Somali Journalists' Network.