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Newspaper office firebombed

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 28 June 2007 IFJ media release:

IFJ Calls on Somalia to Bring Those Responsible for Newspaper Firebombing to Justice

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on authorities for a full and prompt investigation into a firebomb attack on the Shacab newspaper office in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, north-eastern Somalia.

"We condemn this attack on Shacab which was a violent attempt to muzzle an independent voice," said Gabriel Baglo Director of the IFJ Africa office. "We call on Puntland authorities and the Transitional Federal Government to conduct a full and prompt investigation into this incident and to bring the perpetrators to justice."

The headquarters of private newspaper Shacab were attacked yesterday by unknown individuals who threw petrol bombs at the building and then ran off. According to the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), nobody was hurt but the fire damaged a printing machine.

Shacab, which used to be published daily, was banned several times by the authorities after publishing articles critical to the Puntland leaders. Its editor and other staff have been arrested on multiple occasions and now the newspaper is not published regularly.

The IFJ also renewed its call to Puntland authorities to find and charge those responsible for the murder of journalist Mohammed Abdullahi Khalif. The Radio Voice of Peace reporter was shot dead on May 5, 2007 after he was caught in the crossfire between Puntland soldiers and robbers who were in a shootout in an illegal gun market.

The IFJ represents about 600,000 journalists in more than 115 countries.

For further information, contact the IFJ, International Press Centre, Residence Palace, Block C, 155 Rue de la Loi, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium, tel: +322 235 2200 / 2207, fax: +322 235 2219, e-mail: [email protected], Internet: http://www.ifj.org/

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