Somalia’s Puntland police carry out multiple raids on Radio Daljir & briefly shut down radio transmitter

MOGADISHU, Somalia, 16 September, 2019 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) is concerned about the multiple raids by Puntland police officers on Radio Daljir offices in the towns of Garowe and Bosaso on 14 and 15 September, 2019 respectively and the brief shut down of the radio’s transmitter in Bosaso on Monday 16 September, 2019.

Around 09:23a.m. local time on Monday 16 September, 2019, armed police officers led by Bari Regional Police Commissioner Abdirashid Amusane forcibly entered the Radio Daljir’s studio in Bosaso where a live morning show was on air. The officers chased the journalists before they conducted search and subsequently shut the radio transmitter, according to Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed (known as Tallman), Director of Radio Daljir who told Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) that the officers were looking to arrest him but he was not at the office at the time of the raid.

However around 12:15.p.m. the radio management decided to put the transmitter back to air since the police did not serve any written order of closure from authorities. The Puntland Media Law bans closure of media house without a court order.

“We decided to go back on air as there was no written order of closure. But there are ongoing threats against our staff since the police officers who came the radio station were trying to get and arrest me,” Radio Daljir Director, Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed (Tallman) said.

Police officers raided Daljir offices in Garowe on Saturday, around 01:00p.m 14 September and asked for the radio director , Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed (Tallman) and journalist Ayanle Abdullahi Jama who reported a prisoner’s death following alleged police torture in Bosaso days earlier, but after failing to get the duo, the police left the radio premises.

The raids and the brief shut down of Radio Daljirare directly related to the series of reports by Radio Daljir on 11, 12 and 13 September about the death of a prisoner over alleged torture by police under the command of Puntland Police Commissioner, General Muhyadin Ahmed Muse at the coast of Bosaso.  The radio also reported other human rights abuses committed by General Muhyadin including seizure of vehicles and detention of persons without due process.

The Puntland Police did not speak on the matter. The Ministry of Information of Puntland has not also yet commented.

“We extremely condemn these blatant acts of violence against an independent radio for only reporting alleged human rights abuses by the police,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said “Authorities in Puntland should immediately stop raids by its armed police on Radio Daljir and allow the radio’s journalists to work without fear.”

Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) calls top Puntland officials including President Said Abdullahi Deni, Vice President Ahmed Osman Karash and Speaker of Parliament, Abdihakin Mohamed Ahmed to force Police Chief General Muhyadin Ahmed Muse to stop ongoing threats and raids on Radio Daljir and instead dedicate time to investigate alleged human rights violations.

“We strongly demand for the safety of the local journalists and media workers even after reporting police wrongdoings and abuse of power by government officials. This should be the #1 priority of national and local level authorities,” the union’s Secretary General, Mr. Mumin added.

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