IFJ Slams “Terror Tactics” of Somali Government as Troops Lay Siege to Radio Station

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to stop terrorising media after security forces besieged Shabelle Radio, a private radio station, and opened fire on at the building. A security guard is thought to have been wounded in the assault.

The attack comes just three days after the police force raided Shabelle Radio and briefly detained 14 journalists and other staff.

“The terror tactics of government forces are putting the lives of Shabelle Radio journalists at risk,” said Gabriel Baglo, the Director of IFJ Africa office. “It is shocking intimidation that must be stopped.”

This morning government forces surrounded Shabelle Radio headquarters in Mogadishu after firing shots on the building. According to local sources some staff escaped but others are still trapped in the building and one man is thought to be injured. Six hours after the attack began one of the trapped journalists told IFJ that they are afraid to open the doors and fear the radio will be closed. They do not know what sparked the siege.

Last Saturday morning, the police force accused the radio staff of throwing a grenade at a patrol passing close to the compound. Some 17 journalists and media workers in the building were arrested and detained briefly. Since then government forces have been at the main gate, harassing journalists entering the station.

“We call on the Transitional Government to lift this siege and to remove the security forces from around Radio Shabelle,” said Gabriel Baglo.

In August in a similar assault the private radio and media group Global Broadcasting Corporation based in Mogadishu was forced to close after government were stationed at the group’s gate.

For more information contact the IFJ at + 221 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries worldwide