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Two journalists in detention in southern Somalia

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has strongly condemned a wave of arbitrary arrests against journalists operating in the Southern port town of Kismayo, where three journalists were arrested over seven days.

At around 22:00 on Friday, 28 December 2013, forces of the Interim Juba Administration raided the home of Nasteho Mohamed Omar, a reporter for the Mogadishu-based Sky FM and arrested her. A senior official of the Kismayo administration reportedly threatened the journalist with being barred from reporting in Kismayo.

On the same day, the administration also arrested journalist Mohamed Hassan Hiis, which made him the third journalist to be arrested in Kismayo within seven days after journalist Adan Mohamed Salad (known Adan Kismayo), a reporter with Somali National TV in Kismayo, who had been briefly arrested earlier.

“The arrests of three journalists in Kismayo is a clear demonstration of the growing intolerance and disrespect for the work of the media, on the part of the Interim Juba Administration,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

Earlier in the week, the Juba authorities told Nasteho Mohamed Omar that she would face punishment if she had filed a single report, and was finally snatched from her home overnight as a result of the work she was doing.

Nasteho's relatives, who were reached for comment by NUSOJ, said that the regional state vice president, General Abdullahi Sheik Ismail, ordered the journalist's father to come to the region's administrative compound.

“We demand the immediate and unconditional release of the two journalists currently in detention,” said Osman.

Journalists in Kismayo have been filing critical news reports about the actions of the new interim Juba administration to their respective media houses in Mogadishu, which the administration did not like. Journalists who report critically about the administration have faced threats in the past few weeks.

“The Juba administration may not relish journalists investigating its actions, but it has no right to detain them illegally as we are currently witnessing,” added Osman.

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