Somali journalist dies in mysterious circumstances under government custody
Mogadishu (Harar24) – A 27-year old Somali journalist known to have worked as an editor for the independent Kismayo based Jubba Radio has died in unknown circumstances while in the custody of Somali intelligence agency in Mogadishu.
Farhan Mu’allim Muhumed served as the editor for Jubba Radio, an independent radio station which was opened after Al-Shabaab’s withdrawal from Kismayo, the radio station’s service was however short lived after it was recently closed down by Ahmed Madobe, head of the interim Jubba Administration.
According to the manager of Jubba Radio, Yahya Abdirazaq Soofe, who spoke to Harar24 from Kismayo, admitted that Farhan was an editor at the radio station which was closed by the Ahmed Madobe militia after they took control of the city and expelled former defense minister, Barre Hirale. He further added that after the closure of the station Mr. Farhan and several other employees went to Mogadishu to look for employment. “I am saddened to hear about the death of Farhan while in custody of Somali intelligence services. Farhan died in unknown circumstances and I condemn this, I request the Somali government to investigate his death” said Yahya Soofe, manager of Jubba Radio.
Muhumed’s family also told reporters that their son died after being held in prison, a few days after he was arrested by Mogadishu security services. The family has expressed that they don’t know why their son was arrested or imprisoned, however after demanding to know the whereabouts of their son they were told that he had “died”. “We didn’t know where our son was being held or why he was being held to begin with. We kept demanding to be given information regarding our son, however we were told to wait each time, until eventually we were told he had died in prison” said Muhumed’s family.
A source within the Somali intelligence services who spoke on the condition of anonymity, informed Harar24 that the journalist was arrested on suspicion of belonging to Al-Shabaab and that he had indeed died in prison without divulging the circumstances surrounding his death.
This is in contrast to reports by state media, who mentioned that Farhan had jumped out of a moving vehicle after being arrested, thus causing his own death. However the accusation of Mr. Farhan being an Al-Shabaab member was strongly denied by his family and friends.
“It’s false accusation, Farhan was hard working journalist who had nothing to do with Al-Shabaab, if he was Al-Shabaab why not bring him to court instead of dying this way” Said Yahya soofe his former manager
Somalia has attained a reputation of being one of the worst countries to operate as journalist, with more than two dozens of journalists killed in the past two years in Somalia, mostly in Mogadishu. Many other journalists have also fled the country out of concern for their own safety and those of their families. According to CPJ, Somalia ranks as number two in the world where journalists are slain and the killers go free.