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Cablegate: Somalia - Journalist Detained in Baidoa

VZCZCXRO1070
RR RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #2319 2820950
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 080950Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7233
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS NAIROBI 002319

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/E AND A/S FRAZER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KPAO PREL PGOV SO
SUBJECT: Somalia - Journalist Detained in Baidoa

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Summary
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1. (SBU) In an apparent instance of media harassment, a Somali
journalist was arrested in Baidoa on October 4, apparently for
reporting on two recent events in Baidoa. He was held for
approximately twenty-four hours in reportedly dismal conditions and
has since been released on bail, but was instructed to remain in
Baidoa until police conclude their investigation. Post has inquired
with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) about this incident.
End summary.

------------------------------------
Another Incident of Media Harassment
------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Ali Ilyas Abdullahi, a reporter for Radio Horseed in
Somalia, was arrested on October 4 for allegedly "critical"
reporting on two recent security incidents. Sources state that the
arrest was in response to Abdullahi's plan to report on either or
both the murder of the district police chief on the morning of
October 4 or the attack on the residence of the TFG Speaker of
Parliament, Sheikh Adan Muhammad Adan (aka Madobe), on the same
evening. Media reports claim Madobe, shortly after the attack on
his house, publicly accused local media of siding with the
opposition "by favoring their violent acts." Another source
indicates the police claim the journalist called the murdered police
officer the night before the officer's death, which raised
suspicions. Abdullahi claims the officer was a relative with whom
Abdullahi often spoke.

3. (SBU) A Somali media organization claims this incident
illustrates the provincial administration's efforts to quash freedom
of the press, even to the extent of threatening journalists. The
organization states that the TFG, particularly the officials in
Baidoa where political tension is high, have little tolerance for
what the officials consider critical reporting.

------------
Post Actions
------------

4. (SBU) Post has inquired from multiple sources about this arrest.
We are attempting to contact the reporter to let him know of our
interest in his case. In addition, we have contacted the TFG's
Minister of Information to register our concern. The Minister, who
is also Deputy Prime Minister and is usually occupied with tasks
apart from media, has not replied. However, in previous cases he
has acknowledged our interest several days after the initial
inquiry.

SLUTZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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