Somalia: Al Shabaab Shut Down Radio Station in Southwest
Islamist hardliners in Somalia have shut down an independent radio station, with the station's owners saying they were not told why the radio was targeted, Radio Garowe reports. The station, Maandeeq FM, is based in the town of Beled Hawo in Gedo region near the borders with Ethiopia and Kenya.
Hassan Mohamud Halane, the director of Mandeeq radio station, told reporters that the radio officials held a meeting with Al Shabaab officers in Beled Hawo town. "Our meeting with Al Shabaab ended without success, because they refused to tell us why they shut down the [radio] station," Halane said.
He noted that Al Shabaab fighters called the radio station before shutting it down and demanded that the radio station "surrender" its programs. After refusing the order, Maandeeq radio station's owners were instructed to go off the air. Halane indicated that the independent radio station has listeners in different parts of Gedo region, as well as in the Kenyan district of Mandhera and the Ethiopian town of Dolow.
Al Shabaab is a powerful Islamist faction that controls many regions in southern Somalia. The group has previously shut down independent HornAfrik Radio in the port city of Kismayo and Markabley radio station in Bardhere, Gedo region. The U.S. government has placed Al Shabaab on the terror list and accuses the group of ties to Al Qaeda.