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Al-Shabaab militant group conducts illegal raid on radio station, abducts journalist

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the illegitimate takeover of a privately-owned radio station and the abduction of a journalist by the Al-Shabaab extremist group in the Afgoye district of lower Shabelle region.

At around 11:30 p.m. on 17 January 2012, Al-Shabaab militias in a Toyoto pickup truck stormed the premises of Radio Afgoye and carried out an illegal takeover of the station. The militias took two computers, a mixer, four voice recorders, microphones, two television sets, a satellite dish and money collected from advertisements.

Before loading the equipment onto the pickup, militia members handcuffed, blindfolded and put journalist Ayub Yusuf Dalmar, a Radio Afgoye reporter and technician, in the vehicle. The journalist and radio equipment were driven on the same night to the district of Merca, located 90 km south of Mogadishu.

"Al-Shabaab has once more carried out criminal actions by assuming control of Radio Afgoye, wresting it from the hands of its legitimate owners," said NUSOJ Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman. "This action has suppressed the last remaining voice of the people in this region."

Dalmar, who was carrying out a night shift guarding the radio station, is being held at the Al-Shabaab prison in Merca. Al-Shabaab previously ordered Radio Afgoye to refrain from broadcasting songs and music. The owners of the station are worried about a possible return of the militias to remove the antenna.

Radio Afgoye was established in 2005 and is the only radio station in the lower Shabelle region. It is the eighth radio station to be illegally taken over by Al-Shabaab.

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