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Radio station director detained overnight by Puntland soldiers over interview with Somaliland commander

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - The following is a 25 June 2008 NUSOJ press release:

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns today's arrest of journalist Abdulkadir Mohammed Nunow, who is the Director of Horseed Radio in Bossasso, a newly established private radio station.

Puntland soldiers, following the orders of Puntland Minister for Security Affairs Mr. Abdullahi Said Samatar, arrested Abdulkadir Nunow, who is also correspondent for the Voice of America Somali Section, at his office on the premises of the radio station around 2:10 p.m. (local time), Horseed journalists told NUSOJ.

According to Puntland officials, the journalist was arrested for a news report aired on the radio on Monday, 23 June, an interview that a Horseed reporter did with one of the Somaliland commanders on the situation of people who were kidnapped from Puntland but are being held in Las Qoray of Sanag region, which is controlled by the Somaliland army. Sanag is a disputed region that both Puntland and Somaliland claim as part of their territory.

"Puntland officials are accustomed to directly and indirectly intimidating journalists who want to report impartially and independently," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. "We strongly denounce the arrest of Abdulkadir Nunow and demand that Puntland authorities respect journalists' professional rights and release Nunow immediately and unconditionally."

Journalists in Puntland have been receiving in the past weeks all sorts of threats from people who are eager to silence them. A number of journalists were threatened with death and some of them started to avoid seeking critical information in order to protect themselves.

Horseed Radio is a newly established radio station, which is privately-owned by Somali businessmen in the Diaspora. It has been operating for six months.

(IFEX note: Subsequent to this press release, IFEX received information indicating that Nunow, was released at 11 a.m. on 26 June after being held overnight without being charged.)

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