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Somali journalists detained after radio station raid

Security forces raided the private radio station on Saturday [AFP]

Date of publication: 11 July, 2016

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Security forces in Somalia stormed a private radio station on Saturday and arrested two journalists, in another blow to press freedom in the African country.
Two journalists were arrested when Somali authorities raided and shut down a private radio station on Saturday, the International Federation of Journalists confirmed.

Editor-in-chief of City FM, Abdishakur Abdullahi Ahmed and his deputy Abdirahman Hussein Wadani were detained on Saturday afternoon when security forced stormed into the studio and shut down the radio station.

The pair were allegedly arrested after broadcasting interviews deemed to be critical of authorities.

Just two days before the raid, the journalists interviewed several internally displaced refugees in a attempt to gain insight into the distribution of food aid – in which the IDPs accused the regional administration of misappropriating food aid.

"We denounce the arrest and harassment of Abdishakur Abdullahi Ahmed and Abdirahman Hussein Omar Wadani, and demand the immediate and 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," he added.

A Human Rights Watch report published in May described journalists working in Somalia as "fish in poisonous waters," suggesting they can be attacked or killed at any time."

A Human Rights Watch report published in May described journalists working in Somalia as "fish in poisonous waters," suggesting they can be attacked or killed at any time."

Figures from the report show at least 10 journalists were killed – four of which intentionally targeted – since 2014 while dozens were detained and prosecuted.

"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 an issue of public interest," added Osman.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger echoed calls for the journalists' release and the reopening of the radio station.

"These latest attempts to silence Somali press are an affront to media freedom and democracy in a country that desperately needs it."

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