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Private newspaper bombed, radio journalist wounded

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) expressed concern over the continued indiscriminate shelling and violence in Mogadishu which resulted in the bombardment of the only private newspaper in Mogadishu, "Xog-Ogaal" daily newspaper.

On 30 March 2011, around 8am, a mortar attack hit the premises of the newspaper badly damaging the printing press, 3 computers and supplies. Fortunately no one was hurt in the bombardment even though the newspaper was being distributed at the time of the attack. As of 31 March, no one had claimed responsibility for the attack but the mortar is believed to have originated in the southern part of the city.

During the morning attacks on 30 March, journalist Ahmed Hassan Mohamed of Radio Simba was wounded in the shoulder and the back while reporting on a football match at Jamacada stadium in Hodan district. Mohamed was hospitalised at Mogadishu's Madina Hospital, according to his family.

"This remorseless violence and arbitrary shelling is excruciating. Struggling private media in Mogadishu is either looted or destroyed. 'Xog Ogaal' newspaper was the only newspaper in the city that continued to publish and today it is damaged so badly that it can hardly continue to publish," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

NUSOJ calls on all warring parts to cease hostilities for the benefit of civilians, and urges caution around attacks in civilian areas.

In a separate development, on 3 April NUSOJ protested the detention of two journalists by Somaliland police. The two journalists, Jabir Ali Omar of and Dahir Ahmed Jirde of , were arrested on 2 April at Borame police station.

The police commissioner of Awdal Region, Mohamed Abdi Ahmed, confirmed the detention of the two online journalists and added that the police were interrogating them about news reports they had published. The journalists were accused of covering leaflets distributed in Borame which were calling for the people to support "Awdal regional State", a region under Somaliland administration. As of 3 April, the journalists were still being held at the police station and they had not been formally charged.

"The Somaliland authorities must immediately release Jabir Ali Omar and Dahir Ahmed Jirde who are unjustly held in Borame," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. "No journalist should be locked up simply for doing his journalistic job".

Both news websites are privately owned and are well respected in Borame.

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