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NUSOJ slams arrest, detention of media director

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - 20 December 2011 - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has learnt with great concern of the arrest and detention of the Managing Director of Radio Galkayo, Abdullahi Hersi Adde, by Puntland police in Galkayo city of Mudug Region.

The Mudug Region Division Police Commander, Abdirashid Aded Gelle (Dhay Lo'aad), carried out the operation with five policemen who took Adde into custody without a warrant of arrest and are currently holding him at the station. The police also temporarily switched the radio station off-air, although it was later allowed to continue broadcasts.

The police did not explain the reason behind the arrest and the detention but local journalists said the Governor of Mudug Region ordered the arrest on the recommendation of the Regional Security Committee who advised that the director be arrested and the radio shut down.

"We deplore the arrest and subsequent detention of Radio Galkayo Managing Director, Abdullahi Hersi Adde. We believe he is detained purely in relation to his journalistic responsibility and reports broadcasted by the radio station," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

Deputy Governor of Mudug Region Ahmed Muse Nur also confirmed Adde's detention, saying there were complaints against the radio station in the past several days. He claimed the radio station was "creating confrontation" between the "Regional administration" and the people.

"We demand that Adde is released with immediate effect. Journalists cannot be arrested at the whim or anger of political figures. This is subjective and we want such practices to stop," said Abdweli Hassan Gooni, NUSOJ Puntland Coordinator.

Adde's arrest comes after the Galkayo District Commissioner, Said Abdi Farah, recently informed the management of Radio Galkayo of an "impending consequence" if the station continued its "lack of cooperation with district administration" by "broadcasting reports against the district".

"We believe it is a calculated attempt to subdue Radio Galkayo by force and stifle media freedom in Mudug. Galkayo has a record of violent attacks against journalists which have often resulted in some of them being wounded or killed, and radio stations shut down," added Osman.

NUSOJ calls on Somali authorities in Mudug region, particularly the Puntland administration in the region, not to resort to such draconian and repressive actions.

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