Radio Shabelle news director Abdi Mohammed Ismail, who is also known “Abdi Uud,” was released yesterday after being held for eight hours by police in Mogadishu without being given any explanation. “They treated me well but did not ask me any questions while I was in custody,” Ismail said after his release. “Perhaps it was the way I covered acts of violence that did not please some of them.”
21.04.2008 - Government troops arrest leading radio journalist in Mogadishu
Reporters Without Borders calls for the release of Abdi Mohammed Ismail, privately-owned Radio Shabelle’s news director, who was arrested by Somali government troops this morning in Mogadishu. Also known “Abdi Uud,” he is one of the country’s leading journalists.
“The prime minister’s promises to respect press freedom have again been confounded in an unacceptable manner,” Reporters Without Borders said. “If the government intends to continue raiding news media and arresting journalists, it should say so, and it should say on what grounds it is doing this. And if the government is not responsible, then clearly press freedom activists are not the only ones who should be worried about the military.”
Ismail was arrested at 11 a.m. near the Banadir intersection in the south of the capital by one of the transitional government’s military units that were recently trained in Ethiopia. Radio Shabelle said he had been taken to the Gulwadayasha military camp and was being questioned there. The authorities have given no explanation for his arrest.
Colleagues of Ismail said they thought the reason for his arrest was a report about the death of about 20 people in a mosque in the course of fighting over the weekend.
The new prime minister, Nur Hassan Hussein, told journalists in Mogadishu on 21 January, which is press freedom day in Somalia, that “violations of freedom of information will stop today” and promised to “improve relations between the government and media.”