Galmudug forces attack the local media station in Abudwak

Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and Somali Media Association (SOMA) call on the Galmudug authorities to investigate their Darwish police force for the raid on Sooyaal TV and Radio, a local independent media station in Abudwak city, Galgadud region, and beatings and detention director Mahad Bashir Osman for interviewing a group of police officers who went on strike on Sunday over unpaid wages.

Around noon on Sunday, January 30, the heavily armed Darwish Force raided the radio station, beating and detaining the director of the radio, Mahad Bashir Osman. Mahad and two other colleagues told SJS and SOMA that officers first broke into the main gate of the premises before entering the on-air studio and ordering the suspension of the live program.

“They started beating and kicking me. Their commander, who I remember his name as Tiigare, told me I was under arrest. When they kicked me, they blindfolded me and put me on their police pick-up truck. “I could not see where they were taking me,” Mahad said.

Mahad was led to a bushy area on the outskirts of Abudwak town and was held for four hours under a tree he saw when his eyes were revealed. “The Darwish Force officers continued to interrogate me and harass me until 6pm, after which they transferred me to the police station with my legs chained,” Mahad added.

He was released on Monday, January 31, without charge.

According to Mahad and colleagues, the armed officers confiscated external hard drives and memory cards used to record video interviews of the officers on strike, and also damaged a desktop computer and chairs inside the studio.

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