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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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    SWS police raid on Radio Barawe is condemned by media rights organizations.

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    Somalia’s media rights organizations have criticised police in Southwest state (SWS) for using excessive force against reporters on Wednesday.

    SWS police stormed the offices of Radio Barawe in the early evening, detaining the station’s founder Fuad Shoble and journalist Osman Aweys Bahar, who also covers for London-based Universal TV, according to the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and the Somali Media Association (SOMA).

    Both journalists were forced to go to the beach at gunpoint, according to a joint statement from media rights advocates, before being taken to the local police station, where officers proceeded to intimidate them.

    “We condemn the brutal attack on Radio Barawe by Southwest state police personnel, as well as Osman Aweys Bahar’s and the radio’s founder Fuad’s Shoble,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary-General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS), said.

    “We demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of the two colleagues detained. Police officers should not act above the law. They should be held accountable for their violent actions.”

    Bahar reportedly sustained a hand injury resulting while in police custody.

    The raid comes on the heels of an arrest warrant issued by a Lower Shabelle court for Bahar’s arrest in connection with Bahar’s reporting on the growing schism between the Barawe district council and the district commissioner.

    The raid comes on the heels of an arrest warrant issued by a Lower Shabelle court for Bahar’s arrest in connection with Bahar’s reporting on the growing schism between the Barawe district council and the district commissioner.

    SJS and SOMA said that Bahar had previously informed them that the district commissioner, Liban Abukar Bafo, and the police commissioner, Abduqadir Adan Mohamed, had threatened to detain him.

    The attack also comes as recently elected Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is touring the drought-stricken region.

    “We are very sad that the attack on Radio Barawe and the detention of its two staff members took place when Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was paying his first visit to this federal member state. We condemn the police’s violent raid, and we demand justice. SWS Police should free them immediately,” Mohamed Osman Makaran, the Secretary-General of the Somali Media Association (SOMA), said.

    Media practitioners in the Southwest State have complained about police harassment. Southwest police raided and shut down Radio Barawe twice in the last two years and even banned the radio’s unique local Baravanese (Chimwiini) dialect programming. 

     

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