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Somali President Rejects Human Rights Watch Report

Yusuf insists his government "is doing all it can to stabilize Somalia"

Washington, D.C., Aug. 21, 2007 - Abdullahi Yusuf, President of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG), rejected a recent Human Rights Watch report that accused all parties in the Somali conflict of widespread human rights violations and accused the rights group of perpetuating violence in Somalia.

In an exclusive interview with VOA's Somali service today, President Yusuf reacted to the report stating, "It's the insurgence groups that ought to be condemned for human rights violations. The TFG is doing all it can to stabilize Somalia, which is a very difficult thing to do."

According to the report, Ethiopian groups who backed the government bombed civilian areas indiscriminately, and the government impeded relief efforts for displaced people. It also states that insurgents placed civilians at great risk by deploying in populated neighborhoods.

President Yusuf also rejected remarks by the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, who on Thursday commended the TFG for its reconciliation attempt, but chided it for curtailing the freedom of the press by closing several media outlets and detaining journalists without charge. "I believe [Frazer] was lied to...we believe we are a democratic state that protects the freedoms of the press," Yusuf said.

VOA's Somali Service, launched in February 2007, airs from 1600-1700 UTC (7:00-8:00 PM in Somalia), with a repeat broadcast at 1700 UTC. Broadcasts are available on AM, FM and shortwave radio frequencies 13580 Khz, 15620 Khz, 1431 Khz. The 1700 UTC broadcast airs on HornAfrik (88.8 FM in Mogadishu), a VOA-affiliated station.

VOA's Somali-language service is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State. For more information, please visit our website at

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 115 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

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