10 February 2016

Somalia: TV Station Ransacked By Somaliland Minister's Bodyguards

press release

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the ransacking of privately-owned Somali Channel TV's offices in the northern city of Buuhoodle by the bodyguards of Dr. Suleyman Isse, the health minister of the self-proclaimed autonomous state of Somaliland. RSF urges the authorities to condemn this act of violence.

In the early hours of 8 February, Dr. Isse's bodyguards fired shots at the main entrance door, forced their way inside and then seized computers and cameras. Fortunately no journalists were injured during the raid.

The attack followed the TV station's refusal to refrain from any further reference to the resignation of the minister's chief of staff. The head of the station said he even turned down the offer of a bribe in return for his silence.

"We are extremely shocked by the violence of this attack on a media outlet by what is tantamount to a private militia," said Clea Kahn-Sriber, the head of RSF's Africa desk. "We call on the local authorities to condemn this attack and to prosecute those responsible. The TV station must also recover its equipment, without which it cannot operate."

Somalia is ranked 172nd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2015 press freedom index. It has been among the bottom ten countries for the past four years.

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