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Armed police raid and shut down privately-owned radio station, arrest journalists and technician

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - NUSOJ condemns the closure of the privately-owned FM station Radio Voice of Peace in Mogadishu and the subsequent arrest of four of its journalists and a technician.

On the morning of 17 April 2008, heavily-armed police of the Transitional Federal Government, riding in a minibus, raided the radio station, ordered its staff to evacuate their offices and shut down the station, according to Mohammed Ali Irole, director of the radio station, and other of its journalists.

The four journalists arrested are: Shafi'i Muhidin Islow, editor-in-chief; Abdikamil Yusuf Mohamud, reporter; Mohammed Ali Boston, reporter; and Mohammed Kafi Ali, reporter. Ibrahim Abdi Hassan, a technician, was also arrested. The five media persons are being detained by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

The Transitional Federal Government did not talk about the motive behind the raid but the journalists of Radio Voice of Peace, who spoke to NUSOJ on condition of anonymity, said that the action may relate to their coverage of the 16 April attack by insurgents in the KM4 area of the country.

"Police brutality against media is intolerable and the transitional government must halt violence against journalists and media houses by its soldiers", said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. "This raid is a purposeful violation; it is unjustifiable to see armed men who are supposed to enforce law and order carrying out such an attack".

"We demand the immediate release of our colleagues and the recommencement of Radio Voice Peace in service to the public", Omar Faruk added.

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