Committee to Protect Journalists
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
A senior administration official in Somaliland has said that police
officers were the perpetrators of an April 24 attack on the owner of a
media network, according to news reports.
The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in the
semi-autonomous republic to conduct a thorough investigation and ensure
that all those responsible are brought to justice.
Two masked gunmen burst into the offices of the critical independent
daily Hubaal in the capital, Hargeisa, at around 11:30 p.m. as the
paper's employees were proofreading the next day's issue, according to
local journalists and news reports. One assailant fired at least once at
Mohamed Ahmed Jama, but missed, the reports said.
Mohamed is the owner and manager of the Hubaal Media Network, which
publishes Hubaal and the English daily The Independent, according to
Hubaal Editor-in-Chief Hassan Hussein Abdillahi. Mohamed is also the
manager of both papers.
Mohamed suffered a broken arm and finger while he and other employees
subdued the gunman. The other assailant's weapon jammed, and he fled,
but police took the first gunman into custody, according to Abdillahi
Adam Omar, chairman of the board of Hubaal Media Network.
Interior Minister Mohamed Nur Arale told the Somaliland House of
Representatives on Monday that both gunmen had been identified as police
officers and would be prosecuted, according to news reports.
Mohamed told CPJ he had not received any threats prior to the attack.
Presidential Spokesman Suleiman Duhul denied any government
involvement, news website SomalilandSun reported.
In recent weeks, Hubaal published a series of articles critical of
the administration of Somaliland President Ahmed M. Mahamoud Silanyo,
In one article, Hubaal criticized public remarks made by Minister of
Presidential Affairs Hirsi Ali Haji Hassan at an event with the
Somaliland diaspora in London during the president's official visit to
the U.K., Abdillahi said.
The paper has also criticized the interior minister for allegedly
choosing to give interviews exclusively to state media in connection
with deadly unrest on April 16 in the eastern town of Ainabo, the site
of oil exploration.
Hubaal also published a series of reports alleging corruption in the
finance ministry, Hassan, the paper's editor-in-chief, told CPJ.
In late March, police in Hargeisa arrested Jama Said Elmi, a
contributor to Hubaal, in connection with his columns alleging
corruption and nepotism in the Silanyo administration, according to news
reports. Jama was convicted on charges of insulting the nation and
sentenced to six months in prison and a fine of 1 million Somaliland
Shillings, according to the same sources.
"The attack on Hubaal and Mohamed Ahmed Jama is all the more alarming
because of the reported involvement of police officers," CPJ Africa
Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita said.
"We hold Somaliland authorities responsible for the safety of Hubaal
staff, and we call on them to ensure that all those involved in the
attack, including the masterminds, are brought to justice."