Addis Abeba – Several ex-officials of the Somali regional government and three local journalists were arrested last night in Jigjiga while attempting to attend a meeting at a hotel in Jigjiga, the capital of the Somali region, sources told Addis Standard.
The meeting was called on by former cabinet level officials and central committee members of the regional branch of the ruling prosperity party. The goal of the meeting was to discuss the politics of the region and find solutions to challenges facing the people of the region according to corresponding statements in Amharic and Af Soomaali issued after the breaking up of the meeting.
In the statements, members complained about the track record of the regional president Mustefe Omer and called on the national central committee of the ruling party to take corrective measures.
Addis Standard learned that the meeting was dispersed and members were detained for an hour before being released with the exception of one member of the prosperity party and the three journalists who were covering the event. Abdelkayid Burale, an observer of the region and a human rights activist disclosed to Addis Standard that since last night all ex-officials who were detained for an hour were released with the exception of one member of the regional branch of the ruling party and the three local journalists who went to cover the event.
He said, “They attempted to hold a meeting but that did not happen and they issued a subsequent statement detailing their grievances with the region’s administration.”
Three journalists Awkee Ali Ibrahim of Horayaal TV, Najib Tayib and Muhyddin Mohammed of RTN TV all working for local media covering the Somali region were arrested while attempting to cover the meeting and remain in police custody.
Addis Standard spoke to Abdulhakim Abdullahi, a former Nabad TV reporter who now operates as a freelance since the closing of Nabad TV offices in Jigjiga and is a member of the Somali Region Journalists Association (SRJA). He confirmed the journalists’ arrests and said, “We are now at the police commission to get a clearer understanding of the reasons behind their arrests.”
Addis Standard‘s repeated attempts to reach both the communication and security bureaus were to no avail. AS