Radio journalist assaulted twice by militias

June 1, 2006
Posted August 1, 2006

Maryan Mohamud Qalanjo,
Radio Shabelle

Qalanjo, a reporter for the private, Mogadishu-based station Radio Shabelle, was twice assaulted by militias loyal to the Rahanweyn Resistance Army in the city of Baidoa, where the weak transitional government is based, according to the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and other CPJ sources. The RRA controls the southwestern region of Bakool and Bay, in which Baidoa lies. Government officials accused Radio Shabelle of spreading “disinformation” about government leaders, including corruption allegations against Sharif Hassan Sheik Adan, speaker of the transitional parliament, NUSOJ reported.

Qalanjo was first assaulted at Baidoa airport, where she had gone to cover the parliamentary speaker’s arrival from Puntland. The militiamen tried to force her out of her taxi, threatening her with guns, but she managed to return to her hotel, NUSOJ reported. The militiamen later came to her hotel, hit her several times with their gun butts, and forced her to accompany them to Baidoa police station, NUSOJ reported. She was held for about three hours before being released on the orders of Interior Minister Col. Hassan Mohammed Nur who is known as Shatigudud and leads a faction of the RRA. Shatigadud’s order also banned her from working as a journalist in Baidoa region.