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Radio host suspended for attending opposition meeting

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 30 April 2011, a popular Burkinabé musician and radio presenter, Sam K. Le Jah (Sama Karim), who was attacked four years ago for his criticism of President Blaise Compaoré, was barred from entering the premises of Ouga FM, a privately-owned radio station where he works.

Le Jah hosts a reggae music programme which is very popular among youth and uses the programme to talk about political issues in the country.

The Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent cited a memo which ordered him not to set foot on the station's premises or access the station's equipment.

Although the memo, signed by Bakry Joachim, the owner of the station, did not assign any reason for the suspension of Le Jah, it coincided with a recent meeting the radio host attended the same day. The meeting was organised by an opposition political party demanding the resignation of President Compaoré, who has been the president of the country since 1987. The correspondent said Bakry was not pleased with Le Jah's presence at the meeting.

However, Yehoun Zakaria, the director of Ouga FM, has denied that Le Jah has been dismissed. He said he would soon be reinstated.

In 2007, Le Jah became a thorn in the flesh of President Compaoré after launching an album titled "Thomas Sankara", named after a former military leader who was assassinated in a bloody coup d'état led by President Compaoré on 15 October 1987.

In 2007, he received death threats before his car was burned by unknown arsonists.

Le Jah is now launching a lawsuit against his employer.

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