Somalia: HRDs in Somalia face multiple challenges including serious threats, targeted killing, arbitrary arrests, as the war on freedom of expression rages and HRDs in the Somalia are reporting about how they are targeted with arbitrary arrests, torture and targeted killing by alshabab and the central authorities and security forces. HRDs have reported several accounts of arbitrary arrests in 2020/2021 as a crackdown on civil society ensues mainly in regions governed by warlords e.g. Juba+land and puntland.
In early March 2021, Somali journalist & human rights activist; Jamal Farah Adan shot and killed, Al-Shabaab claims responsibility.
The coalition of Somali human rights defenders CSHRDS asked authorities in the Somali region of Puntland are asked to conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the killing of journalist Jamal Farah Adan and hold those responsible to account.
In the evening of March 1st; 2 unidentified gun men shot and murdered Jamal outside a shop where he ran in the northern part of the city of Galkayo. Media reports and separate statements published by two local press rights groups, the Media Association of Puntland and the Mogadishu-based Somali Journalists Syndicate confirmed the incident.
On his Facebook account, where he posted political commentary and reporting, Jamal had previously said that he received threats from the Al-Shabaab militant group. After the killing, Al-Shabaab announced on its radio station, Radio Andalus, that it had killed Jamal for opposing the group, according to news reports and a recording of that broadcast. CPJ released this report accordingly;
According to many accounts given by multiple journalists in Somalia suggest that alshabab’s hit man known as Mohamud Jama Bile is behind the targeted killings of HRDs in Somalia, as he is involved in similar attacks against Somali journalists both in exile e.g. the brutal attack and the attempted murder the exiled Somali journalist (EADH) in St.Gallen, Switzerland in December 2012 according to eyewitness Mohamed Ibrahim Askar who lives in Switzerland, and the assassination of the female journalist (Hinda) in Somalia in 2015.
Journalists report that the death sent to journalists by alshabab are sent by Mohamud Jama Bile from his Swiss phone number (+4176 339 98 60) confirmed by targeted journalists.
Impunity is a problem that continues to motivate criminals and journalist murderers to run away with their crimes and continue to pose threats against Somali HRDs in Somalia and in abroad sustained by the ignorance of the foreign authorities inability to navigate different extremist groups targeting somali human rights activists.
With Juba+Land to be the worst place to be HRD in Somalia due to the simple fact that Jubaland is ruled by the ex-alshabab Raaskambooni brigade leader (Sheikh Ahmed Islam Ahmed Madoobe) who does not allow the truth about his war crimes and crimes against humanity to be uncovered by independent journalists and human rights activists in the lower and middle juba regions in Somalia. The notorious leader is engaged in fighting against the any presence of human rights activists in the region in order to keep his human rights abuse unreported by arbitrary arresting them, sending them death threats through the local security apparatus. Mascuud is an independent journalist who escaped from threats of being killed by Jubaand security forces loyal to Ahmed Madoobe because of reporting Modoobe’s crimes in the region e.g. enforced evictions with demographic change purpose, targeted killings of traditional leaders of indigenous clans in Juba regions, and targetetd mass displacements.
HANAHR has supported many HRDS since 2020 mainly women HRDs to escape Juba+Land’s unchallenged HRD crack down and abuse of human rights where the notorious leader has a free hand to do whatever he wants to do in terms of perpetrating gross human rights violations. HRDs in the small town of Kismayo which is the current capital of Juba region face double threats from the local security apparatus and alshabab militias who control the whole surrounding villages and their only escape gate is by air or on boat.
Prevailing impunity is to exacerbate the horrible situation facing the HRDs working in Jubland, Puntland, South west, Hirshabeele and Somaliland states of Somalia. The impunity emboldens the local security apparatus to arrest, torture and even kill HRDs as well as it emboldens alshabab militias to continue its carnage against HRDs actviely working for their communities at rural and urban level.
The absence of international support and lack of strong international networking for HRDs in Somalia also contributes to the volatility of the situation. HRDs in Somalia have recently established their own coalition that represents their own interests under the coalition name (The coalition of Somali HRDs abbreviated as CSHRDS) in order ease navigate the situation of the HRDs in different regions in Somalia and in order to create a well connected family of local HRDs in order amplify their voices and better support their communities through the collective solidarity of the coalition which comprises of many local human rights organizations run by HRDs in different regions in Somalia.
Taken all together – The situation of HRDs in Somalia is likely to get worsened as the country enters political crisis related to the disputed electoral issues and the looming political standoff between the government and its opposition as well as increased alshabab’s armed insurgency.
HANAHR Advocacy Team