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Global media watchdog calls for probe into assault on a journalist

Hiiraan Online
Tuesday September 25, 2018

Mohamed Ali Siad was attacked by security officials last Sunday in Galkayo. SUPPLIED

MOGADISHU (HOL) - International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has urged authorities in Puntland State to investigate a brutal assault of journalist Mohamed Ali Siad in Somalia by police officers in Galkayo town.

Mr. Mohamed Ali Siad, deputy director of Radio Galkayo, was attacked by police officers last Sunday at the police station in Galkayo town when the journalist arrived at the station’s commander for an interview appointment about a security operation carried out by police earlier.

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Ali Siad said that he demanded an interview with the Commander of Puntland Police Division for Mudug Region, Colonel Mohamed Ali Awale, about a security operation carried out by his officers in Galkayo city the night before.

In a statement, IFJ said it joins its Somali affiliate, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), in condemning this aggression which and demanding that Somali authorities bring perpetrators to justice.

"IFJ condemns the brutal assault of journalist Mohamed Ali Siad in Somalia by police officers and urges authorities to investigate this and bring perpetrators to justice. We are concerned about the situation of journalists in Somalia as attacks on them grow daily; we demand authorities protect journalists, not beat them up," The IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger said, "This is an abominable attack on journalist’s life. The beating and torture of Mohamed Ali Siad serve only one purpose: to scare journalists from covering sensitive issues like security. People have the right to know what happened in their neighbourhoods. Beating or killing a journalist isn’t feasible and will not make Galkayo a safe town."

According to NUSOJ’s press release, when Siad arrived, security guards were waiting for him at the station’s entrance and blocked him from getting in. The police attacked him, punched him and hit his head against the wall. Moments after, the Somali journalist was released bleeding and with several injuries.

Two journalists have been killed in Somalia in 2018 and several attacks, aggression, and threats have been reported so far. Regrettably, many of them have gone unpunished.

The IFJ and the NUSOJ jointly said they submitted a joint statement to UN’s Human Rights Council to draw the attention of international community to the systematic human rights’ violations and attacks to freedom of expression in Somalia.

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