MOGADISHU, Somalia — The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), is shocked and dismayed to learn of the dangerous encounter in Kismayo, that could have led to the death of journalist Idle Mohamed Adan aka Deggane, in the evening of December 15, 2021.
Deggane, who works for Universal TV and local radio station – Waamo radio – in Kismayo, Jubbaland state, was on his way home from work, when the car he was driving was stopped at what appeared to be an unmanned checkpoint by a lone gunman. Although the journalist initially followed the orders and instructions of the masked gunman, suspicious of the gunman who was subsequently identified as a member of the Jubbaland security forces, Deggane decided to drive on.
According to local journalists in Kismayo, it was at this point that the gunman opened fire on the car while calling out to his colleagues, who were concealed at the other end of the road, to intercept a suspect who was trying to escape. A pick-up truck full of hooded security men then stopped Deggane, who was shaken by the sequence of events and the show of force against him. He switched off headlights and turned on the dim light inside the car, hoping that his captors would see he was a civilian.
While the team leader was aggressively interrogating him with occasional insults, one of the security men fired him with bullets from behind. The terrifying episode ended when they told him to move on without explaining their conduct, even after they realised he was a journalist. The incident comes as Kismayo gears up to conduct parliamentary elections in the coming weeks.
“We are relieved to learn that Deggane is safe and well after the dangerous events of last night. However, this incident once again highlights the dangers journalists face in Somalia and the need for professional conduct by the security forces. Journalists serving the public interest deserve protection and should not be subjected to violence and harassment of any form” said NUSOJ General Secretary Omar Faruk Osman.
The journalist is just fortunate that the bullets that were fired in haste, missed their intended target. The officer who discharged those bullets and other officers who were part of the aggression should be brought to book in order to entrench a culture of rule of law.
“We demand for a full inquiry into the incident by the authorities in Jubbaland and administrative sanctions against the officers involved,” Osman added. We hope Deggane will soon recover from the mental trauma inflicted on him during the course of duty.”
NUSOJ once again calls on federal and state authorities in Somalia to value the work of journalists and protect them from unwarranted harassment and violence.