Somalia releases 3 Al-Jazeera journalists

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) " Somalia's government has released three Al-Jazeera journalists Thursday, two days after they were arrested along with their driver by security forces, the network confirmed.

Hamza Mohamed, a Somali-British journalist for Al-Jazeera's English service, and members of his crew were arrested upon their return from areas held by the Islamic extremists of al-Shabab. Mohamed had been in Somalia for a week on a reporting assignment, Al-Jazeera said in a statement.

The National Union of Somali Journalists welcomed the release of the journalists who were arrested near Somalia's capital Tuesday.

The government earlier arrested and released another journalist, Abdi Aden Guled, the editor of Xog-Ogaal, one of Mogadishu's oldest daily newspapers. Guled was arrested on Sunday and released Wednesday and his newspaper was also closed during that period.

Threats and intimidations against journalists often increase during the elections in Somalia, which is rated as one of the world's most dangerous countries for media workers, according to media groups. Journalists are targeted by both Islamic extremists and the government, say rights groups.

Last month, gunmen shot dead Abdiaziz Mohamed Ali Haji, who was on his way home from work as a reporter for Shabelle radio, a radio station in Mogadishu.

He was the second journalist killed in Somalia this year.

Three journalists were killed in Somalia in 2015, including one in a bombing claimed by al-Shabab extremists.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said 59 journalists have been killed in Somalia since 1992, shortly after this Horn of Africa nation plunged into chaos.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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