VOA Somali correspondent in Baidoa. | Photo credit: screen grab from Youtube
VOA Somali correspondent in Baidoa. | Photo credit: screen grab from Youtube.

MOGADISHU, Somalia, 23 April, 2020- Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) welcomes the release of Voice of America (VOA) journalist, Mukhtar Mohamed Atosh on Wednesday 22 April, 2020 and praises the decision to revoke the ban on Radio Barawe’s programming in the Bravanese language.

Atosh was arrested on Monday by South West (SW) State police officers over a 19 April report on the death of a 14-years-old girl allegedly raped on the road between Mogadishu and Baidoa.

“I got my freedom yesterday [Wednesday] evening. There is no condition for my release,” Mukhtar Mohamed Atosh told SJS.

SJS also is relieved to learn that Radio Barawe, a community-owned radio in Barawe, Lower Shabelle region was able to resume its programming in the locally spoken Baravanese (Chimini) dialect on Wednesday, according to the management of the radio who spoke to SJS on Thursday.

On Monday, authorities in Barawe verbally ordered the radio station to halt all programming in the Baravanese dialect citing that “it was illegal to broadcast in such dialect” without providing any evidence for that. Radio Barawe broadcasts daily news program and music in the Baravanese dialect to the local community in Barawe.

“We welcome the release of journalist Mukhtar Mohamed Atosh who was illegally arrested on Monday,” Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary General of Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said “We are also relaxed by the news that Radio Barawe is able to resume its Baravanese program after the illegal ban on Monday.”