Seven journalists were arrested by Somaliland police on Wednesday while covering a prison altercation in the region’s capital, Hargeisa.
It was gathered that a journalist with the VOA Sagal Mustafe Hassan was freed after a short detention, but the other journalists remained in custody at Hargeisa’s central police station.
BBC reporter Hassan Gallaydh, local MM TV journalist Mohamed Ilig, and Saab TV journalist Ahmed Mohamud Yusuf were among those detained.
The journalists were detained for unknown reasons, according to authorities. It’s thought that several of them were live-streaming when they were apprehended outside the prison, which houses roughly 150 criminal and terror inmates.
“There are people who misinformed the public about the small incident that happened at the prison. We hold them accountable, and we will not allow such people to go unpunished,” said the commander-in-chief of the Somaliland Custodial Corps, Brigadier General Ahmed Awale Yusuf, in a news conference following the incident.
Recall, On March 18, members of the intelligence services attacked three journalists riding in a car in Hargeisa and allegedly kidnapped one of them, a freelance online journalist Abdisalan Ahmed Awad.
Abdisalan was riding in a car with freelance journalist Ali Mahdi Jibril and privately owned Saab TV reporter Shafic Mohamed Ibrahim in the capital, Hargeisa, when five men allegedly dragged them out of the car and beat Abdisalan and Ali
Abdisalan, who is also known by his nickname “Germany,” publishes original reporting, commentary, and shares news from other outlets on his Facebook page, where he has over 220,000 followers.
On Monday, The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for the release of Abdisalan, who remains in custody.
“Authorities in the breakaway region of Somaliland should unconditionally release freelance online journalist Abdisalan Ahmed Awad and hold the intelligence officers who harassed and assaulted him and two other journalists responsible,” CPJ said.
Somaliland is a Somali breakaway state that has received no international recognition since declaring independence from Somalia in 1991, following the overthrow of the Siyad Barre dictatorship.