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Prominent radio journalist detained in Puntland after interview with Voice of America

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) expresses its deep concern over the arrest of a prominent female radio journalist, Faduma Yusuf Said, in Garowe, Puntland, in northeast Somalia.

On the night of Wednesday, 6 August, Puntland police raided Hotel Sharjah in Garowe and took three journalists, including Faduma Yusuf, to the police station. After bringing the three into the station, the two other journalists – Khadro Mohamed Hassan of Puntland TV and Abdinasir Ahmed Hussein of Kalsan TV – were told to go and that Faduma would be incarcerated for an “indefinite period” based on “undetermined charges”. Both Khadro and Abdinasir refused to leave without Faduma, but the police responded violently and beat them up, forcing them to leave.

The reason for the arrest is not officially stated, but it is widely believed that the Puntland government is annoyed by an interview that Faduma Yusuf Said gave to the Voice of America's (VOA) Somali Service, about the recent raid on Puntland TV by some of Puntland's security forces.

"It is outrageous that Puntland authorities feel free to lock up a journalist without explanation or due process," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. "The authorities in Puntland must release Faduma Yusuf Said immediately and cease harassing her."

Faduma Yusuf Said is working for privately owned Radio Daljir in Bossasso. She is an active member of NUSOJ's northern branch.

Attempts by NUSOJ and the Media Association of Puntland (MAP) to secure the release of Faduma Yusuf Said failed this morning after the police officers handling the case made an appointment to meet but later turned off their mobile phones and left their offices.

“This action clearly indicates that Puntland journalists continue to be subject to unacceptable pressure,” added Osman. “The Puntland administration must come clean about why Faduma Yusuf Said was arrested and explain it. It is unacceptable to have arbitrary and unexplained actions that are tantamount to intimidation.”

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