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Somalia4 August 2005

Journalist jailed in the city where the president and prime minister are based

Reporters Without Borders voiced "deep disappointment" today at the arrest of Abdullahi Kulmiye Adow of the privately-owned radio station HornAfrik two days ago by the authorities in the Middle Shabelle region, whose governor is the warlord Mohamed Dhere.

The organisation said it was astonished that such an incident should have recurred in Jowhar (90 km north of Mogadishu), as the president and prime minister of the federal transition government have installed themselves there and have expressed the desire to make Jowhar the seat of their government.

"Adow must be freed at once," Reporters Without Borders said. "We thought the return of a national administration to Somali soil would herald the start of a period in which justice prevailed over arbitrariness. But this is not the case, especially in the territory controlled by Mohamed Dhere. President Abdullahi Yusuf and Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Geedi should not tolerate the jailing of a journalist in the city where they reside."

Adow, who had been sent to Jowhar by his Mogadishu-based radio station, was arrested by Dhere’s militia at around 11 p.m. on 2 August for reporting that 1,500 students will not be able to return to their school at the start of the next academic year because it is being occupied by the federal transition government.

The Somali Journalist Network (SOJON), an organisation partnered with Reporters Without Borders, said his punishment was supposed to be announced within three days.

Established during a national conference last year in Kenya, the transition government is split between those who support the president and prime minister, and those who back the speaker of the parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden. The former want the government seat to be in Jowhar. The latter want it to be in Mogadishu. Local journalists say radio HornAfrik has sided with the Mogadishu faction and this has made members of the Jowhar-based government more hostile towards the station.

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