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Two journalists arrested, one wounded in Mogadishu

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the continued bloody violence and threats against journalists and news media organisations following an escalation of aggressive actions against media.

During heavy fighting in Mogadishu on 1 July 2010 between Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces and Al-Shabaab Islamic extremists, Farah Abdi Warsame, a photojournalist with the AP news agency, was wounded. Meanwhile, Mustafe Haji Abdinur, an AFP news agency reporter, and Yusuf Jama Abdullahi (also known as Yusuf Djibouti), a freelance cameraman, were arrested by TFG police officers after they were seen taking pictures of the wounded Farah Abdi Warsame.

The photojournalist was injured by shrapnel that hit him in the back and on his left hand. Since the journalists were in an area where fighting was taking place, the government forces accused Mustafe Haji Abdinur and Yusuf Jama Abdullahi of directing the Al-Shabaab gunfire. The reporter and cameraman are both being held at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters.

"We condemn this pitiless violence that causes the shedding of journalists' blood. Arresting and detaining well-known journalists on fake allegations is deplorable. The Transitional Government must release Mustafe Haji Abdi Nur and Yusuf Jama Abdullahi without delay," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. "They have no legitimate reason to detain the two journalists for a single minute."

In a separate case, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Somalia's independence, Radio Shabelle, which recently relocated from the Bakara market to a relatively safer place in south Mogadishu, broke an Al-Shabaab decree against the airing of music and songs. The radio station is the first private media house to break the Al-Shabaab orders.

"It is depressing that these warring sides have the muscle to threaten and endanger the lives of journalists by putting them at risk. The government, in particular, is creating a shambles of its once good relations with the media," Omar Faruk Osman added.
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