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NUSOJ condemns arrest of journalists, closure of Radio Station

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) protests the unlawful arrest two journalists and closure of private radio station in Jowhar district of Middle Shabelle region by security forces.

Abdishakur Abdullahi Ahmed

Abdishakur Abdullahi Ahmed

Middle Shabelle region administration ordered arrest of Abdishakur Abdullahi Ahmed (nicknamed Shashaa), editor-in-chief of City FM, Abdirahman Hussein Omar Wadani, Deputy Editor-in-chief of City FM. At around 16:18 on Saturday, 9 July 2016, security forces raided premises of City FM, shutdown the radio station and arrested the two journalists. An hour later, security forces came back to the Radio station and took radio equipment to their headquarters.

Abdirahman Hussein Omar Wadani

Abdirahman Hussein Omar Wadani

The journalists were arrested for broadcasting interviews with people critising the Middle Shabelle administration. On Thursday, 7 July, the two journalists interviewed (vox pop) members of internally displaced persons (IDPs) about Regional administration’s distribution of food aid to IDPs. The Jowhar administration was consequently incensed of critics by IDPs broadcasted by City FM and some of the IDPs accused the administration of “misappropriating” food aid.

“We denounce the arrest and harassment of Abdishakur Abdullahi Ahmed and Abdirahman Hussein Omar Wadani, and demand the immediate & unconditional release of the two journalists and total return of radio equipment,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. “The administration must allow City FM to resume its operations without any harassment or restrictions”.

Abdishakur Abdullahi Ahmed, who is also reporter of Somnews TV in Jowhar, is a member of the union and last week attended the General Assembly of NUSOJ, which was held in Galkayo.

“The continued detention of the two journalists and sustained closure of City FM are an affront to media freedom and suppression of local people’s freedom of expression on issue of public interest such as food aid distribution,” added Osman.