Police and NISA officers attack journalists covering protest and confiscate equipment in Mogadishu
Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) vehemently condemns the beating, harassment and confiscation of equipment against Radio Kulmiye female reporter, Fardowso Mohamud Sahal during a public protest at Daljirka Dahsoon (The unknown soldier monument) in Mogadishu by police officers and members of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) today on Sunday 16 May, 2021. The armed police and NISA officers first attacked a group of journalists who were covering the protest by parents of “allegedly missing” young men recruited by the Somali government and sent to Eritrea. Officers ordered journalists to stop their coverage and leave the area with immediate effect. Some of the journalists told SJS that they were threatened with arrests and confiscation of equipment by the officers should they not leave. Hamar Weyne police commissioner, Major Sharma’arke Hassan Mohamud and accompanying soldiers then beat journalist Fardowso Mohamoud Sahal, who was covering the protest for the privately-owned radio Kulmiye. According to Fardowso, she was beaten and thrown to the ground by Major Sharma’arke and his officers before confiscating her voice recorder and her phone. A live-streamed video on her Facebook showed officers approaching before her phone was snatched amidst live interviews with protesters. SJS strongly condemns the acts of harassment, beating and confiscation of equipment carried out by the police officers led by Hamar Weyne police chief and other accompanying police officers. Somali Federal Government officials can not claim that they are going to end impunity for crimes against journalists if their own police officers are not held accountable for their attacks on journalists. ”Hamar Weyne Police commander, Major Sharmarke Hassan Mohamud and his officers who today beat, harassed & confiscated equipment of journalist Fardowso Mohamud Sahal should not continue to serve as a police officer. They should be disciplined for their cruelness,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said. “We call them to return the journalists’ equipment immediately. There is no any justification for attacking a journalist for simply doing his/her job. The Somali government must investigate this incident and punish the officers involved in the incident and stop the continued impunity against the journalists and the media in the country,” adds Mumin.