An editor in Somaliland has been detained for the past week after trading himself in to free a colleague, says the Committee to Protect Journalists in a statement urging authorities to release him.

“Somaliland authorities should immediately release Ibrahim Osman Ahmed, editor of Hangool News, who has been held without charge since April 15,” says the New York-based press freedom watchdog.

“Ibrahim is in custody in Hargeisa Central Police Station after handing himself over to police to secure the release of Abdirahman Arab Da’ud, also from Hangool News.”

The editor has not appeared in court yet, adding to concerns over his continued detention.

“Fortunately, I got my freedom,” says released journalist Abdirahman, “but they exchanged me [for] Ibrahim Osman and we don’t know when they will take [him] to the court, and that is the reason we are worrying.”

Head of CPJ’s Africa program Angela Quintal said: “News agencies must be permitted to report without fear of detention or other forms of reprisal.”

Somaliland, a self-declared nation of 4.5 million people, is an autonomous region of the east-African country Somalia.

Often referred to as a breakaway territory, Somaliland has seen the arrest of “multiple journalists” in recent months “often in connection with views perceived by authorities as favouring reunification [with Somalia]”, says CPJ.

Photo: Ibrahim Osman Ahmed, editor of Hangool News. Somaliland Monitor