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Fear for kidnapped journalist's life

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - 14 January 2011 - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) expresses its grave concern for the safety of radio journalist Mohamed Ali Mohamud, publicly known as "Madka", who was kidnapped by Al-Shabaab forces at his home in northern Mogadishu.

According to sources close to Mohamud, Al-Shabaab militias raided the home of the journalist two months ago and kidnapped and blindfolded him, after accusing him of spying for the "enemies of Islam".

Mohamud, who is being held at Al-Shabaab's feared Huriwa prison, is supposed to be brought to an Al-Shabaab "trial" sometime soon. His laptop computer was confiscated and Al-Shabaab sources have assertively stated that they have "actual evidence" of the journalist's spying activities.

"We are very worried about Mohamud's safety. He has never been a spy, and we urge Al-Shabaab to free this journalist quickly and (ensure he is) unharmed," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

Al-Shabaab refused to allow family members, relatives and fellow journalists to visit Mohamud at the prison. NUSOJ is also concerned about reports that the journalist has been tortured to force him to reveal his "spying collaborators". The organisation will be closely monitoring the situation of Mohamud's mockery of a trial.

NUSOJ fears that Mohamud faces an unfair trial with grave consequences for his life. "Al-Shabaab must stop the continued brutal persecution of journalists," added Omar Faruk.

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