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Somalia19 November 2008

Galkayo-based radio station back on the air, director released

Reporters Without Borders hails the reopening yesterday of Radio Galkayo, a privately-owned station in the northeastern city of Galkayo, and the release of its director, Hassan Mohamed Jama, after three days in detention. Jama has nonetheless been ordered to report to a Galkayo court at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

The police of the autonomous northeastern territory of Somaliland arrested Jama and forced the station to stop broadcasting on 16 November after it reported that Puntland’s president was involved in an allegedly clandestine deal to acquire arms from abroad.

18.11 - Reporters Without Borders calls for reopening of Radio Galkayo and the release of its director

Reporters Without Borders today expressed dismay after police in the semi-autonomous Puntland region in north-eastern Somalia, raided and shut down Radio Galkayo and arrested its head, Hassan Mohammed Jama.

Police, led by Col. Abdirisak Ismail, alias “Darwish”, arrived at the studios on 16 November forced the radio off air and arrested its director. Darwish said he was acting on the direct orders of the president of Puntland, General Adde Muse.

The raid was prompted by a report aired on the radio accusing the president of involvement in a secret deal to obtain weapons from abroad to guarantee his safety during forthcoming elections in December, according to Partner organisation of Reporters Without Borders, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).

“These allegations are completely false and that is why the radio station has been closed”, a police official told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.

“Whatever the objection to Radio Galkayo, it is outrageous that police should raid a radio station and shut it down”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “Keeping its director in custody without telling him what he is accused of is absurd and unjust. Behaviour like this only reveals the weakness of the authorities and makes them enemies”, Reporters Without Borders added.

Radio Galkayo

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