Somaliland arrests another journalist

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Omar Hassan Ali, a journalist with a Mogadishu-based radio and television station, Goobjoog was arrested upon his arrival at Egal International Airport on Saturday.

Harassment and intimidation against journalists have been a major concern for journalists based in Somaliland who have also seen waves of arrests and intimidation by local authorities in recent years.

By Jamal Ibrahim, jamal@alleastafrica.com

HARGEISA – Police in the breakaway northern Somalia republic of Somaliland have arrested a journalist Saturday, in the latest of series arrests of journalists, journalists said.

Omar Hassan Ali, a journalist with a Mogadishu-based radio and television station, Goobjoog was arrested upon his arrival at Egal International Airport in the capital, Hargeisa on Saturday.

He is the third independent journalist to be arrested in the enclave this year.

This photo widely shared on the social media shows the moment police arrested Omar Hassan Ali at the airport

The allegations against Ali were not immediately clear. He is the second journalist to be arrested by Somaliland authorities since last month.

Last month, Somaliland police have arrested Mohamed Adan Dirir, the editor of the online portal www.horseednews.com after asking the health minister a question about his work attendance problems that frustrated many including patients seeking medical attention abroad who subsequently missed important appointments with the minister.

His arrest came after the minister Saleban Isse Ahmed who was apparently angered by the question ordered his arrest.

He was released three weeks later and no charges were brought against him.

Local media watchdogs condemned the latest arrest and called for the immediate release of the journalist.

Harassment and intimidation against journalists have been a major concern for journalists based in Somaliland who have also seen waves of arrests and intimidation by local authorities in recent years.

Somaliland’s interior minister Yasin Mohamud Hiir has confirmed the arrest of the journalist. He declined to give further details about his arrest.

For years, there has been a tense relationship between the government and independent media. Government officials often accuse journalists of supporting and promoting anti-government sentiment, leading to the arrests of dozens of journalists in recent years.

Rights groups and media watchdogs have repeatedly urged Somaliland to ensure that independent media outlets are not harassed, and to allow journalists to practice their profession without fear of retaliation.

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