It seems that the Ethiopian government which is one of the top persecutors of journalists in the world is taking its bad habit to Somalia. The freest media in the horn of Africa is now under serious attack from the Ethiopian forces and their Somali transitional government allies. The RSF reports:
- ...Abikar, the Voice of the Holy Quran's correspondent for the Lower Shabelle region, was arrested in Baidoa on 1 January by forces loyal to the transitional federal government, who seized his journalistic material. It is not known where he is being held.
The Reporters Without Borders partner organisation in Somalia, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), said Abikar was reportedly suspected of spying. He was arrested once before in the district of Diinsor and his material was confiscated on that occasion as well. Following his first arrest, he was freed as a result of the intervention of the deputy defence minister. "
And Garow online reports:
Another Somali journalist who went on the trip to Afgoe with Garowe Online reporter Abditatah Ahmed tried to take pictures of the Ethiopian troops en route to Mogadishu. Ethiopian soldiers immediately surrounded the journalists and used physical force to intimidate the reporters, Abdifatah wrote.
The Ethiopian soldiers asked the Somali journalists who they were and what they were doing in Afgoe.
“After we told them we were journalists, they [Ethiopian soldiers] laughed at us and said they don’t recognize the Somali press,” Abdifatah wrote.
The soldiers then destroyed the camera and ordered the journalists to leave the area immediately.
Old habits die hard. What will the next move be? Accusing Somali journalists of treason and genocide? Shutting down somali blogs? Registering internet cafe users?