Somalia: Ahlu Sunna bans Shabelle Radio from operating in central Somalia

Abdi Hajji Hussein – AHN News Correspondent

Dhusamareb, Galgudud, Somalia (AHN) – Somali moderate militia group Ahlu Sunna Waljama’ (ASWJ) has banned Shabelle Media Network, a local radio station based in Mogadishu, from operating in central Somalia, a spokesman for the group announced Thursday.

In a press conference held in the Dhusamareb district of the Galgudud region in the center of the country, Sheikh Abdurrazak Mohammed Ali, the spokesman of ASWJ in central Somalia, said they imposed the ban on Shabelle radio after the station broadcast anti-Ahlu Sunna Waljama’ reports.

“The ultimate decision which is reached is that Ahlu Sunna suspended all Shabelle journalists to cover news stories from the areas it controls particularly central Somalia. We hope Shabelle administration will accept the ban,” Ali told reporters.

ASWJ charged Shabelle with trying to dismantle the group that controls much of central Somalia.

Shabelle officials have not yet commented on the ban.

It is not the first time ASWJ banned a radio station operating locally in Somalia. In November 2010, Radio Abudwak and Radio Badbado, which are based in the Abdudwaq district of the Galgudud region in central Somalia, were closed down by fighters loyal to ASWJ, although the group later relented.

Infringement against freedom of speech has become routine in Somalia. In April, Hizbul Islam’s chairman for the Banadir region, Moallim Hashi Mohammed Farah, ordered local radio stations to stop playing music.

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