Somali Extremists Confiscate Two Main Radio Stations & TVs in Mogadishu

Somali insurgent groups opposing the transitional federal government (TFG) of Somalia have confiscated two main radio stations and TVs: Horn Afrik and GBC editors and eye witnesses confirmed Sunday.

Heavily armed militants from the Al-Qaeda-proxy in Somalia, Al-shabab who have been surrounding Horn Afrik for the past three days have stormed the station on Saturday evening and looted it.

“As soon as they entered the station, they directly went to the archive and destroyed it and they then started to loot all equipments including the FM transmitter” one of the radio editors who demanded anonymity because of security reasons told Somali Sports Press association (SSPA) which also lobbies for rights of journalists and the spread of democracy throughout Somalia.

The militant group with ties to Osama Bin Laden’s Alqaeda Network had previously confiscated and looted many radio stations in Mogadishu and other regions.

Those stations include: Sahan radio, Somali Weyn radio and Holly Quran radio in Mogadishu and Radio Warsan in Baidoa, Radio Horn Afrik branch in Kismayo and Radio Jowhar.

Mean while militants from another extremist group in Somalia Hezbal Islam also confiscated the GBC Radio & TV after they have forcibly raided its compound in the Huriwaa district north of Mogadishu.

“Earlier in the week Hezbal Islam told our director to peacefully hand over the station to their administration in Mogadishu, but he refused and late yesterday heavily armed militants with their faces covered have raided the station and they told us that from yesterday the station was changed into what they called {An Islamic radio} and they ordered us out” one of GBC reporters who asked to remain anonymity said.

In a press statement issued Sunday, the Somali Sports Press Association (SSPA) has strongly condemned the move and called on the militants to return the looted properties and let the stations restart work freely.

“The SSPA is totally denouncing the unjustifiable move by the militants and we urge them to respect freedom of expression and the work of independent media in areas under their control” the statement said Sunday.

The militants have been fighting Somali government for the past three and a half years in a bid to topple it and instead establish the kind of Islamic rule that existed in Afghanistan before the fall of Taliban late in 2001, but AU peace keepers have been protecting the fragile government since then.

Shafi’i Mohyaddin Abokar is the NewsBlaze Somalia reporter. Shafi’i has extensive experience in journalism, international relations, and football management. He is the founder of Somali Sports Press Association, a long-time sports journalist and a member of the International Sports Press Association.

Shafi’i has a Master’s Degree in international Relations obtained at De Montfort University in Leicester and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Multimedia journalism from the University of Northampton. The photo shows Shafi’i in action while at CAF Centre of Excellence in Cameroon.