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Somali media network raided after broadcasting Al-Shabaab spokesperson's voice on radio

This statement was originally published by NUSOJ on 4 April 2015.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) expresses alarm at a fresh wave of anti-media actions in Mogadishu, after forces from the National Security and Intelligence Agency (NISA) once again raided the Shabelle Media Network, shut down media houses and arrested journalists.

At around 17:40 on Friday, 3 April 2015, five heavily armed battlewagons raided the premises of Shabelle and shut down Radio Shabelle and SkyFM. They confiscated all computers and arrested 25 persons, including 23 journalists and media workers.

All arrested journalists – including NUSOJ Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman, who was visiting Shabelle during the raid – were taken to the NISA regional headquarters for interrogations. All were released at around 23:50, but NISA imprisoned Mohamed Muse, Director of Radio Shabelle, Ahmed Abdi Hassan, deputy editor of Radio Shabelle and Abdiasis Mohamed Ali, Head of Personnel at the station. The three are still in prison.

NISA officials stated their actions came after after Radio Shabelle broadcasted the voice of an Al-Shabaab spokesperson, who claimed responsibility for the terror attack at Garissa University. NISA had prohibited the Somali media to air the voice of Al-Shabaab terrorists group.

“This is another heavy handed assault on media freedom. It is part of a trend by security authorities to silence independent media” said Abdirisak Omar Ismail, President of NUSOJ Supreme Council. “Security forces must allow journalists the freedom to write and report without the fear of arrest and detention”.

According to security officials, NISA is looking for the chairman of Shabelle Media Network, Abdimalik Yusuf, who is currently in hiding.

NUSOJ calls on the Prime Minister of Somalia, Omar Abdirisashid Sharmarke, and the Minister for Internal Security, Abdirisak Omar Mohamed, to secure the immediate and unconditional release of Mohamed Muse, Ahmed Abdi Hassan and Abdiasis Mohamed Ali.

“The important questions that journalists are asking themselves are why NISA is targeting journalists and media houses, and why it has become tool to suppress independent media,” added Ismail.

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