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Attackers lob grenade at Puntland radio station

A grenade blew through the roof of Horseed FM's office in Bossasso. (Horseed FM)

New York, October 19, 2010--A pair of assailants lobbed a grenade Monday evening at Horseed FM, a private radio station broadcasting from the port city of Bossasso, the economic capital of Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region, according to local reports. After the grenade exploded, one of the attackers began shooting at an adjacent café, Horseed Managing Director Mahad M. Ahmed told CPJ.

Horseed FM's Bossasso office (Horseed FM)

One station technician suffered a small shrapnel wound in his left leg, Ahmed said. No other injuries were reported. The cause of the attack was not immediately clear.

"We call on the Puntland authorities to investigate this attack in a thorough and transparent manner," said CPJ's East Africa Consultant, Tom Rhodes.

Today Puntland police arrested about ten people they claimed were connected to the attack, including two journalists who have since been released, local reports said.

The attack followed the jailing of Abdifatah Jama, the station's deputy director. Jama was arrested on August 13 after he aired an interview with Sheikh Mohamed Said Atom, an Islamic rebel leader. He remains imprisoned despite the September 4 ruling of an appeals court judge, who determined that there was insufficient evidence to hold him, according to international reports.

"Puntland officials should to adhere to the rule of the law by following the judge's ruling and ensuring that Jama is released," CPJ's Rhodes said.

After Jama was arrested, Puntland authorities banned all reporting on alleged terrorist and insurgent activities as part of a new anti-terror law, the details of which have not been made public, Horseed reported.

Horseed FM recently aired a report claiming that Jama is being held illegally.

Horseed FM is back on the air today, Ahmed told CPJ. "We will not be silenced by threats and such attacks. We will continue to be the voice of the people," read a statement from Horseed Media.

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