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Hirshabelle: Police shut down independent radio station, briefly detain seven journalists in Jowhar

MOGADISHU, Somalia, 19 December, 2019 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) condemns the unlawful closure of the privately-owned independent City FM radio in Jowhar and the brief detention of its journalists by Hirshabelle police on Thursday 19 December, 2019.

On Wednesday 18 December, around 3.00p.m local time, armed police officers under the orders of Hirshabelle police commissioner, Col. Hassan Dhi’isow Hassan raided the radio and asked for the station’s license and left immediately after they were shown the radio’s license by members of the staff, according to City FM journalists who spoke to SJS.

Around 01:30p.m on Thursday 19 December, armed police officers again raided City FM and ordered closure of the station and took over the station’s keys while detaining the seven journalists on duty. The journalists: Mahad Muse Mahdi, Sakariye Osman Abdi, Hussein Abdi Farey, Mohamud Ali Omar, Abdinasir Ahmed, Abukar Ali Adow and Nur Mohamed Moalim were later released from police detention without charge.

“The police instructed us not to return to the radio station and instead go home,” one of the detained journalists told SJS.

According to Mohamed Yasin Mahdi, a new editor at City FM, the police did not have any written document justifying the radio closure. A senior police officer in Jowhar told SJS that a letter of summoning was issued to the director of City FM, Abdishakur Abdullahi Ahmed (known as Shaasha) on Wednesday 18 December by Hirshabelle State Attorney General, Abdullahi Mohamud Ga’al following news report and interviews alleging African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Hirshabelle State President, Mohamed Abdi Ware over illegally grabbing farm land from locals.

Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) condemns the shutdown of the radio station and calls for Hirshabelle authorities to allow City FM radio to unconditionally resume operations without further delay.

“We condemn the illegal closure of City FM radio in Jowhar by Hirshabelle authorities and the brief arrest of seven journalists who were on duty,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said “Closing a media station for broadcasting critical news shows how the oppressive the regime is. We demand the authorities to unconditionally allow City FM to resume broadcasting.” (END)

By A warsame

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