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CPJ: Somali radio journalist detained for 5 days after conducting interview

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On October 17, 2020, Somali security personnel arrested Abdullahi Kulmiye Adow, a reporter with the local privately owned broadcaster Radio Kulmiye, days after he interviewed a businessman who professed support for the militant group Al-Shabaab, according to media reports and Abdullahi, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.

Abdullahi told CPJ that plain-clothed officers came to his home that evening and brought him to Godka Jillaow, a detention center run by Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency. They held him without access to his family or lawyers until October 22, when he was released without charge, according to Abdullahi and a statement from the Somali Journalists Syndicate, a local press rights group.

Abdullahi said he believed his arrest was prompted by an October 14 interview he conducted with a local businessman who also formerly worked as the financier of the Islamic Courts Union, a judicial organization that briefly controlled Somalia’s capital Mogadishu in 2006.

Militant members of that group later formed Al-Shabaab, according to media reports and a report by the United Nations’ Monitoring Group on Somalia,

During the interview, the businessman said that he aligned himself ideologically with Al-Shabaab and would be glad to see “non-believers” killed, according to audio of the interview that was summarized and translated for CPJ.

Radio Kulmiye did not air the interview by the time Abdullahi was arrested, but had shared brief excerpts of it, including on Facebook, according to the journalist and Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, secretary general of the Somali Journalists Syndicate.

Authorities arrested the businessman on October 16 and freed him one day later, according to media reports. CPJ could not determine the circumstances of his release or whether he faced any formal charges.

CPJ emailed the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency for comment on Abdullahi’s arrest, but did not receive any response.

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