Puntland (Somalia) police shut down radio station and detain director

AllAfrica reports that armed police raided the premises of Radio Voice of Peace (Codka Nabada Radio) in Boosaaso on Saturday 3 March 2012, around 20h20 local time, confiscating broadcasting equipment.

Police later went to the residence of the director of the station, Awke Abdullahi Ali, and took him to the Boosaaso Central police jail on Saturday night, his wife Istahil Abdi confirmed to the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).

The police have accused the radio station of airing propaganda news related to the Shabab. Codka Nabada Radio reported on Saturday afternoon on clashes which erupted between the Puntland administration and the militants, who are affiliated to Al-Shabab, in the Galgala mountains near Boosaaso in the Bari region.

During the coverage, Puntland Presidential spokesman, Libaax Joore as well as a Shabab spokesman, Abu Muscab, a group which has recently announced their affiliations to Al-Qaeda, were both interviewed. The Shabab spokesman claimed the militants seized technical vehicles from Puntland army and killed many Puntland soldiers.

"We condemn in the strongest terms possible the act of raid, closure of the radio station and detention of our colleague by the Puntland Police." Mohamed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, "The attack is a direct violation and attempt to obstruct the free flow of information and news from the other side of the story from the public. These attacks must stop"

"We call for the Puntland Authorities to return the equipment and release the director of the Codka Nabada Radio in Boosaaso, Awke Abdullahi from jail. Even if there was error on his part, such an attack could not have been the response." Ibrahim added.

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