4 April 2012

Seven journalists among those seriously injured in suicide bombing

An ambulance is seen outside Somalia's national theatre in Mogadishu after an explosion. Seven journalists were seriously wounded in the blast
An ambulance is seen outside Somalia's national theatre in Mogadishu after an explosion. Seven journalists were seriously wounded in the blast
Feisal Omar/REUTERS
At least four people were killed and scores were wounded, including seven journalists, when a bomb exploded at Somalia's national theatre at a ceremony to mark the one-year anniversary of Somali National Television, report ARTICLE 19 and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

According to news reports, the suicide bombing happened as Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali was standing at the podium to deliver a speech. The presidents of Somalia's Olympic committee and soccer football federation were among those killed.

RSF says the wounded journalists are: Mohamed Shariif of the radio station Bar-Kulan, Ahmed Ali Kahiye of Radio Kulmiye, Ayaan Abdi of the television station Somalie 24, Deeqo Mohamed Ahmed of Radio Mogadiscio, Hamdi Mohammed Hassan Hiis of Somali Channel TV, Said Shire Warsame of Shabelle TV and Mulki Hassan Hayle of Royal TV.

"This is a shocking and unacceptable act. The targeting of journalists, civilians and public officials in today's attack sends a chilling message to all those who want to support the fledgling process of restoration," said Henry Maina, the director of ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa.

ARTICLE 19 and RSF have both pledged to provide assistance to the injured and their families.

According to news reports, the Islamist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bombing. Al-Shabaab withdrew most of its fighters from Mogadishu last August under pressure from thousands of African Union peacekeepers and Somali troops. Since then, Mogadishu's residents have started to enjoy a certain degree of peace.

Even so, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous places in the world for the media. Two journalists have been killed in Somalia this year alone, according to ARTICLE 19. More tellingly, Somalia's Transitional Federal Government has not investigated or resolved a single killing in its history, notes ARTICLE 19.

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