Somali security forces evicted Shabelle Media Network (SMN) from its building Saturday (October 26th), accusing the radio station of illegally occupying a government building. The raid occurred four days after the Ministry of Interior and National Security ordered SMN to leave the premises.
All Radio Shabelle staff, including security guards, were arrested and later released without charges, Al Jazeera reported. "This is about silencing Radio Shabelle. This is politics and has nothing to do with the premises," Radio Shabelle director Abdimalik Yusuf Mohamud told Al Jazeera shortly after he was released from prison.
Government officials denied they were trying to silence the station and said the arrests took place as a last resort when staff refused to vacate the premises.
Meanwhile on Sunday, the Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications issued a decree ordering all media and communication companies to register with the ministry within two weeks. "By November 10th, any media outlet or company which has not a legal license shall face a legal step against its illegal business," the ministry said, according to Somalia's RBC Radio.