MOGADISHU, Somalia, 09 June, 2019 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) condemns the act of shooting, threats to kill and harassment by Somali military soldiers against Radio Kulmiye reporter and producer Hussein Abdulle Mohamed (known as Hussein Gurmad) in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu on Sunday 9 June, 2019.
Around 9.15am local time on Sunday, bodyguards of General Saney Abdulle Gaab smashed the journalist’s private car’s sidebar mirror at a security checkpoint at Hawo Tako area, near the Villa Somalia Palace. The journalist was at that time heading to his work from home, according to Radio Kulmiye and the journalist himself.
“I was waiting my turn at the security checkpoint when General Saney’s soldiers on a military pick-up arrived. They smashed my car’s sidebar mirror and kicked it. When I complained and showed my journalism ID card, two soldiers came down from the pick-up, kicked me and threatened to kill me as they drove in speed,” journalist Hussein told SJS.
After the incident, the journalist drove to a next checkpoint to complain to the officers there but General Saney’s soldiers shot four bullets on the journalist’s car which luckily did not hurt outside the Parliament (People’s House) Building.
According to the journalist and his editor, Abdiqani Abdullahi Ibrahim, the soldiers were even more aggressive after realizing Hussein was a journalist.
“When we heard the incident we have tried to reach to the relevant authorities but no action was taken until now,” editor Ibrahim added.
Editor Ibrahim told SJS that journalist Hussein had previously being threatened by military officers including General Saney’s soldiers.
On April 11, at the same checkpoint, military soldiers attached to General Odawa Yusuf Rage, the commander of Infantry Forces hit journalist Hussein with guns and threatened to kill as the journalist was driving to his radio station.
When the journalist attempted to complain against the April 11 incident, he was not successful and was even discouraged to file any official complaint for fear of repercussion, both the journalist and his editor told SJS.
“Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) vehemently condemns the acts of shooting and threats to kill and harassment against our colleague. It’s unacceptable and against the laws of the country to harass and threaten to kill a journalist.” SJS said,
“The military and police officers should not be above the law. The government should investigate officers who were responsible for today’s incident against journalist Hussein and bring them to book.” SJS added.
Since the start of this year, Radio Kulmiye has faced several cases of threats and detention against its journalists and their equipment confiscated by government security forces.
On May 22, security forces at Daljirka security checkpoint shot at, beat up and briefly detained a journalist and a cameraperson from Radio Kulmiye while on a reporting mission.