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Journalists wounded in Galkayo and Mogadishu

Mohamed Yasin Isak
Mohamed Yasin Isak


(NUSOJ/IFEX) - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns in the strongest possible terms the targeted shooting of two Somali journalists working for international news media organizations in Galkayo and Mogadishu.

Mohamed Yasin Isak, a reporter for the Voice of America (VOA) Somali Service in the Mudug region of Somalia, was wounded when a police officer of the 8 Puntland Semi-autonomous administration opened fire on 17 November 2009 around 8:00 p.m. local time.

The journalist, who was driving to his office, was shot in the shoulder after another police officer gave him permission to go through a police checkpoint. Bullets were fired into the body of the car and the windows were shattered. Isak was immediately rushed to a privately-owned hospital in Galkayo. According to doctors, his situation is stable.

The motive behind this targeted attack remains unclear, but Isak has been targeted by the police and high-profile members of the government, including the vice president of the Puntland administration, the deputy minister of information and police commanders.

A second journalist was wounded less than 24 hours after the first incident. On 18 November, Abdirahman Warsame, a correspondent for Xinhua news agency, was shot in the left shoulder while he was standing in front of the Banadir Hospital in the Madina district of Mogadishu City. Warsame told NUSOJ that he does not know who shot him or what armed group his attacker may have been associated with. There was fighting between government forces, African union troops and insurgents in the area at the time of the incident.

"I am in good health, only I am suffering from pain because of the bullet which is still in my shoulder," Warsame told NUSOJ.

Isak reportedly received threats from the commander of the Mudug Region Police Division Colonel, Muse Ahmed Abdirahman, who had recently attended uninvited a journalists' meeting in Galkayo city. The commander said that they were following what Isak was doing in recent days. "We know what you are disseminating these days through the media," the commander said.

In their meeting, the journalists discussed attacks and government pressure they had experienced from the regional administration in Mudug region, Puntland. At a previous gathering on regional security held In Galkayo, some journalists were beaten by police with AK47s while others were insulted by the regional finance secretary and other members of the administration.

On the evening of 25 August, Isak and his colleague, journalist Abdullahi Hersi Adde, were briefly arrested by the police in Galkayo. The order to arrest the journalists was issued by the deputy commander of the Puntland police. The police said Isak was accused of sending a provocative report to his V.O.A Somali office but the police did not justify their arrest of the other journalist. The two journalists were released a few hours later.

"While we wish for a full recovery for Mohamed Yasin Isak and Abdirahman Warsame, we categorically denounce these horrendous crimes against media professionals and the continued bloody violence against journalists. The wounding of two colleagues demonstrates the enormous danger journalists face and the complete impunity that surrounds these cases," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

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