British, German-equipped and trained Somali police officers attack local radio station and detain seven journalists

MOGADISHU, Somalia January 22, 2022 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and its partner Somali Media Association (SOMA) condemn the raid and the closure of the local independent radio station in Beledweyne and the detention of its seven journalists by the Hirshabelle police in Beledweyne Friday, January 21, 2022 following interviews with local armed resistance who oppose the Hirshabelle authorities.

According to CCTV footage seen by SJS and SOMA and interviews with journalists, Radio Hiiraan Weyn attacked and took over around 1 p.m. 14.58 Friday local time heavily armed police officers led by Beledweyne Police Commissioner Mohamed Hussein Mohamud (Duur days) Radio Hiiraan Weyn and turned off the radio. air before detaining seven on-duty journalists. The seven journalists – Yasin Ali Ahmed (editor-in-chief), Abdullahi Ali Abukar, Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, Abdisamad Elmi Abdi, Abdimajid Dahir and Mustaf Ali Addow – were transported in a police car and detained at Beledweyne police station. without access to their families and lawyers until Friday midnight, when they were all released without charge.

According to journalists, they were later taken to a private house where Hirshabelle Vice President Yusuf Ahmed Hagar (Dabageed), Hirshabelle Chief of Police, Colonel Hassan Dhi’isow and the Commander-in-Chief of the Somali National Army, Colonel Mohamud Hassan Ibrahim, were staying. These officials threatened the journalists with severe consequences if they reported critical information to the Hirshabelle authorities.

The radio broadcast was allowed to resume Saturday morning.

SJS and SOMA are concerned about the continuing threats against Radio Hiiraan Weyn’s staff, in particular the threats of ‘death and disappearance’ against the seven journalists from Hirshabelle Police Chief, Colonel Hassan Dhi’isow.

SJS and SOMA are also concerned that police officers who committed these blatant violations and their commanders were trained and provided with contribution funds provided by the British and German governments through a joint police program with little or no accountability mechanism and protection of human rights, including protection of the right to freedom of expression.

“We strongly condemn the armed raid and the closure of Radio Hiiraan Weyn in Beledweyne on Friday and the detention of seven radio journalists. Although we are pleased that all seven journalists were released and that radio resumed operations here, tomorrow (Saturday), we also condemn the ongoing threats and pressure on the journalist and staff working for Radio Hiiraan Weyn, ”said Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, Secretary General of the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS).

“We remind local authorities in Hirshabelle, the Somali Federal Government and their international counterparts of their responsibility to hold any officer who attacked Radio Hiiraan Weyn detained its journalists and threatened to be investigated and held accountable,” he added. Moomin.

“We condemn the raid on Radio Hiiraan Weyn and the detention of the seven journalists in the strongest possible terms. Although the journalists were released from detention, the threats have not stopped yet. We urge the Hirshabelle police to stop these threats and allow the independent media in Beledweyne and its journalists operate with complete independence, ”said Mohamed Osman Makaran, Secretary General of the Somali Media Association (SOMA).

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