US says Somali spy agency’s attack on veteran journalist threat to press freedom.

The US Embassy in Somalia has defended VOA journalist Harun Maruf from allegations made by Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) which accused him of being a threat to the country’s national security.

“Maruf is a respected professional, a journalist at VOA News. He is one of the most influential Somali journalists. NISA’s attacks [against him] are a threat to freedom of expression and independence of the press which are fundamental for democracy and government accountability in Somalia,” the embassy said in a tweet.

Maruf, who also holds US citizenship, received overwhelming support from journalists, politicians and academics, who termed NISA’s move as a worrying censorship trend that has been growing in Somalia since President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo came to power three years ago.

Harun Maruf is a respected veteran journalist who regularly reports on Somalia and militant activities in the Horn of Africa region. He is the co-author of the book “Inside Al-Shabaab: The secret history of Al-Qaeda’s most powerful ally”.