Somalia sacks intelligence chief over arrests of journalists

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The Somali government has fired its intelligence chief, accused of incompetence and penchant for crackdown on media and other government critics.

Ridwan Abdiwali, Somalia Government spokesman said on Sunday that Abdullahi-Mohamed Sanbalooshe, Somalia’s Intelligence Chief, was replaced by his deputy, Mohamed Abdullahi-Haamud.

He said Mr. Abdiwali was sacked for attacking the media and his inability to carry out his responsibilities properly.

“He is linked to crackdown on government critics, closing two independent radio stations same day, and order the arrest of three journalists,” the spokesman said.

“The intelligence chief had allegedly ordered arrests of journalists, politicians and clan elders who were regarded as critics of the government,’’ he said.

Mr. Abdiwali said journalists were also detained after refusing to obey orders handed down by him not to report on statements issued by the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab.

A security official said on condition of anonymity that “Sanbalooshe has been using excessive power without the full knowledge of top government officials’’.

Analysts said Mr. Sanbalooshe was close ally of President Hassan Mohamud and his sacking might spark infighting within the government. (dpa/NAN).

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