Heavily-armed police raided the Mogadishu studios of privately-owned Radio Voice of Peace yesterday morning, arresting five employees who were finally released in the evening, Reporters Without Borders has learned from Omar Faruk Osman, the secretary general of its partner organisation in Somalia, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).
“The security forces have yet again acted on their whim in Mogadishu,” the press freedom organisation said. “Without informing the civilian authorities or obtaining any kind of warrant that would legitimise their action, they stormed a radio station and carried out arrests as if they were masters of the country. The federal transitional government’s founding charter imposes the rule of law on the security forces, the law they are supposed to enforce.”
The five employees arrested yesterday morning - editor Shafi’i Muhidin Islow, journalists Abdikamil Yusuf Mohamud, Mohammed Ali Boston Mohammed and Kafi Ali and technician Ibrahim Abdi Hassan - were taken to the headquarters of the police department of criminal investigation. They were freed in the evening thanks to an agreement between clan leaders, and the station was allowed to resume broadcasting.
The government gave no official explanation for their arrest. The station’s journalists thought the raid might have been prompted by a report the previous evening about a rebel attack in the KM4 area.