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Twenty-six IFEX members condemn brutal suicide bombing that killed three journalists

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - Calling on the international community to protect Somali citizens, particularly journalists, 26 IFEX members issued the following appeal for justice following a 3 December 2009 attack that killed more than 25 people, including three journalists:

We, the undersigned members of the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX) network join the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) in condemning the brutal suicide bombing that took place in Mogadishu on 3 December 2009, killing more than 25 people, including three journalists.

An explosion went off at Hotel Shamo in Mogadishu, where a graduation ceremony for medical students from the Banadir University was underway.

Radio Shabelle reporter Mohamed Amin Adan Abdulle, Al-Arabia TV cameraman Hassan Zubeyr Haji Hassan and freelance fixer and cameraman Yaasir Mario perished in the attack. Three ministers of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, including the health, education and higher education ministers, along with more than nine students who were attending the ceremony, were also killed.

Five other journalists covering the event were wounded.

With these three deaths, the number of journalists killed in Somalia in 2009 has risen to nine, making it another deadly year for media professionals in the country. Radio Shabelle journalists have again been victims of violence with four being killed - two directors and two journalists, since 2007.

We condemn this attack in the most serious terms and consider it not only a tragedy for the journalists killed in the line of duty but an assault on the peace and security of Somalia and its people.

We join NUSOJ in calling for greater efforts by the international community to ensure the protection of Somali citizens, including journalists, who face grave and on-going danger in the context of civil war and terrorism. Somali journalists repeatedly face threats, terror and human rights violations while carrying out their work in a country that foreign reporters refuse to visit. They need support and protection from the international community.

We join NUSOJ in condemning the widespread impunity in Somalia and call for justice in this brutal crime. We denounce the violent nature of these attacks, which suppresses free expression and violates Somali citizens' human rights.

We call for the African Union Mission for Somalia, the United Nations and the world community to robustly and quickly restore a secure and stable environment to protect and promote freedom of expression and press freedom, which have completely disappeared in Somalia.

Sincerely,

National Union of Somali Journalists
Africa Free Media Trust
Bahrain Center for Human Rights
Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Cartoonists Rights Network International
Center for Media Studies & Peace Building
Comité por la Libre Expresión - C-Libre
Committee to Protect Journalists
Ethiopian Freepress Journalists' Association
Freedom House
Hong Kong Journalists Association
Independent Journalism Center - Moldova
International Federation of Journalists
International Press Institute
Maharat Foundation
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance
Media Institute
Media Rights Agenda
Observatoire pour la liberté de presse, d'édition et de création
Pakistan Press Foundation
Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms - MADA
PEN International
Public Association "Journalists"
Reporters Without Borders
Southeast Asian Press Alliance

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