- Authorities in the Awdal region of Somaliland have detained a reporter for the Hargeisa-based independent daily newspaper 'Jamhuuriya' for a story he filed for his paper about the people's feeling towards the upcoming parliamentary elections. This is the 17th time a 'Jamhuuriya' reporter is detained in the yet-to-be-recognised country.
'Jamhuuriya' journalist Abdirahman Mohammed Habane was woken up Monday morning by local police and was taken to was detained in the local police station. This is the second time in ten days that Somaliland authorities arrest and detain reporters on publishing what they view as anti-government material.
Last week Somaliland authorities caused international outcry for firing and detaining, Hodo Ahmed Qarboshe and Ahmed Suleyman Dhuhul, for reporting for a new London-based radio network while working for the state-owned station in Hargeisa, the capital of the self-declared republic.
Police sources in Borama, capital of Somaliland's Awdal region, told 'Awdalnews Network' that the Governor of Awdal, Mohammed Abdillahi, had ordered the detention of journalist Habane for misquoting him in the report.
Mr Habane was released few hours after his initial arrest but was immediately re-arrested and was still in the prison when the 'Awdalnews' reporter had met him. Mr Habane said that he did not even file the story for 'Jamhuuriya' and the authorities detained him for something he didn't do.
The Somaliland Journalists Union, which operates from its base in Hargeisa, has yet to issue a statement on the 'Jamhuuriya' reporter's detention.
Reporters in Borama had recently been subjected to harassment and continued threats by local authorities for reporting about the people's dissatisfaction over the allocation of parliamentary seats for the region.
The Somaliland government was particularly touchy about statements of prominent community elders, threatening that the people of Awdal province may boycott the elections if the seats allocation were not revised. They hold that the Awdal region should be allocated more seats in the parliament, despite the province's modest population.
'Jamhuuriya' chief editor Hassan Said Yusuf has been detained by Somaliland police on 16 occasions earlier, mostly when his independent daily has published news cricising the Hargeisa government. Mr Yusuf on most occasions has been freed after a short time, but he has also reported police intimidation and death threats.
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