Somalia: Four musicians reportedly arrested

29 September 2015


Four musicians from the Hargeisa-based Horn Stars band were arrested upon their arrival at Egal airport in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, reported BBC Somali along with several Somali news websites.

The musicians were returning home after a tour with performances in Nairobi and Mogadishu. It is currently not clear what should have been the reason for their arrest. The Somaliland government hasn’t commented on the arrests, wrote Ogaden Today.

On 29 September 2015 they were reportedly brought to Hargeisa District Court where the judge allegedly stated that their detention is illegal, but even so, the same court remanded them for seven days – without charges.

Underneath a youtube-video with a news report about the incident, a commenter suggested the possibility that the musicians may have refused to give the local authorities their cut of the money they earned out their music performances in Mogadishu, thus being arrested.

Oodweyne Media’s Ismail Luweyne commented that in his view, the arrest made the Somaliland government look like the South African government during the period of apartheid where it used to ban people’s political activities and arrest any citizen who stood against the government policy.

Freemuse has received information that Somaliland over the past months has been seeing an increasing trend in a new form of censorship of musicians: Somaliland authorities have allegedly been using musicians as bargaining chips to achieve political gains by restricting their movements in Somalia. The reason for this is a – some say misguided – perception that as long as Somaliland’s cultural unity with the rest of Somalia remains intact, Somaliland’s self-declared independence won’t yield any results.

» Oodweyne Media – 28 September 2015:
Silanyo government made Somaliland a police state and at present, the imagine of Somaliland in the face of the international community
By Ismail Luweyne

» Somaliland Informer – 27 September 2015:
Somaliland: Police arrest four members of Xidigaha Geeska Band

» Ogaden Today – 27 September 2015:
Somaliland detains musicians after Mogadishu show

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