SOJON Protests Against Attacks on Private Radio Station by an Islamic Court in Somalia

Statement by the Somali Journalists Network (SOJON)

Earlier this morning, staff from the Idaacadda Quraanka Kariimka (The Holy Quran Radio) radio in Mogadishu were attacked by militia from the Towfiiq Islamic Court in North Mogadishu.

At close to 11:00am local time, a group of armed men from the Islamic court arrived with two war vehicles known as Technics, ransacked the radio station and arrested the station's director. The militia from the Islamic court were planning to confiscate a series of reports prepared by the station.

At the time of the assault, the radio's administration were not at the office and most of the reporters were out of the station carrying out their daily work, apart from one journalist Abdulrahman Abtidon Gabeyre, whom the militia arrested as they were leaving the headquarters of the radio.

Finally, Abdurahman was released after having been briefly incarcerated in Towfiq district jail, and the radio has now resumed broadcasting.

This attack on the radio station primarily revolved around a dispute between two business groups from Suuq Baad Market, who had been competing over the brand name of a product called OMO. The attack on the Holy Quran radio station resulted after one of these groups went to the Islamic court and complained that the radio was advising people not to buy their product. This group claimed that their rival had paid the station management to air such advice as part of a commerical broadcast.

The Somali Journalists Network is protesting this act, which they regard as "unfair treatment" of the administration and staff of the Holy Quran Radio. SOJON declares that warlords, armed Islamic courts and freelance militias used excessive levels of force without formal procedure.

Omar Faruk Osman
Secretary General
Somali Journalists Network (SOJON)
E-mail: [email protected]