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Popular Somali Newspaper Remains Closed


FILE - People read newspapers in the streets of Somalia's capital Mogadishu May 3, 2011. Popular Somali newspaper Xog-Ogaal remains closed and its editor in detention for a second day.

A popular Somali newspaper remains closed and its editor in detention for a second day in the capital, Mogadishu.

Employees at the Xog-Ogaal daily newspaper said Somali government forces raided their offices at 8 p.m. on Saturday night, arrested the editor, Abdi Aden Guled, and seized printing equipment.

“They came without a warning, without showing us any warrants,” says the chairman of the paper, Mohamed Mohamud Aden. “They arrested the editor, seized computers, printers, and confiscated the newspaper’s archives.”

The National Union of Somali Journalists condemned the arrest and called for the release of the editor.

Founded in 1991, Xog-Ogaal is the longest running daily newspaper in Mogadishu. It has survived the civil war between Mogadishu warlords and the war between the Somali government and al-Shabab militants in the city.

“The only time it stopped publishing is the last two days because the government seized the equipment,” Aden said.

VOA contacted officials at the Ministry of Internal Security who declined to comment on the arrest. No government officials have commented on the shutdown.

Aden said the soldiers who raided the offices were identified to be members of the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency, known as “NISA”.

Sources close to the Somali Ministry of Interior Security told VOA that Guled is being held in Godka Jilaow, a NISA-run prison where al-Shabab suspects are being held.

Aden said no one has been allowed to see Guled. “We would like to tell them that the editor is suffering from asthma, he is unwell, and they must know that," he says.

The founder and former editor of Xog-Ogaal, Mohamed Aden Guled, was among 20 people killed in a deadly Shabab attack on the Central Hotel in Mogadishu in February 2015.

A total of 59 journalists have been killed in Somalia since 1992 according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, including two this year.

The arrest, detention and harassment of journalists is a regular occurrence in Somalia, and the country is considered one of the most dangerous in the world for journalists.