Nairobi, September 28, 2016–Authorities in Somaliland should immediately and unconditionally release journalist Ahmed Mouse Sakaaro, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Somaliland police arrested Sakaaro in the eastern town of Buroa on September 25, according to local journalists and a statement by a local human rights body.
Ahmed runs the independent Rakaadnews online news portal.
The Human Rights Centre, a local advocacy group, said in a statement that Ahmed’s arrest came days after he posted a video online condemning a declaration by Minister for the Presidency Mahmoud Hashi Abdi, who was quoted saying he would rid Somaliland of what he called “pirate journalists.”
Guleid Ahmed Jama, chairman of the Human Rights Centre, told CPJ that authorities had not leveled any formal charges against Ahmed but told him they were detaining him for incitement.
“Ahmed Mouse Sakaaro has committed no crime. He has every right to publish his opinion,” said Murithi Mutiga, CPJ’s East Africa Representative. “Authorities should immediately release Ahmed and take steps to ensure the safety of all journalists now that a minister has explicitly threatened members of the press for doing their jobs.”
Kayse Ahmed Digale, deputy chairman of the Somaliland Journalists Association, told CPJ on Tuesday that there was no indication from authorities on when Ahmed would be set free.
Somaliland Information Minister Osman Abdullahi Sahardid did not immediately respond to CPJ’s phone calls requesting comment.
CPJ has documented several violations against media freedom in Somaliland including the arbitrary closure of independent newspapers in recent months.