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Radio director escapes assassination attempt in Puntland

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) strongly condemns the assassination attempt against Awil Mohamud Abdi, the director of Radio Galkayo, in Galkayo, Puntland.

On Friday, 2 August 2013, at around 23:00 local time, armed men followed Awil from Radio Galkayo. Five minutes later – when Abdi had arrived his house and turned on the light in his bedroom – seven bullets slammed into the bedroom window near where he had been standing. Awil threw himself to the ground. Holes in his bedroom wall and bullets on the floor were found.

Speaking to NUSOJ, Awil Mohamud Abdi said, “they wanted to communicate a message to me as well as to Radio Galkayo and the journalist community in Galkayo. They want to prevent us from telling the truth but I want to tell them that we will not be discouraged.”

“It was clearly an assassination attempt that failed. We call on Puntland authorities to thoroughly investigate this violent attack and to bring those responsible to justice,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. “Authorities must provide protection to journalists and their media houses”.

There was no claim of responsibility for the assassination attempt. Most suspicions pointed to Al-Shabaab fighters, who had recently singled out a number of Galkayo journalists over their coverage of targeted killings in the town.

But some journalists insist that they refuse to rule out involvement by politicians, who are using intimidation and violence against journalists to make political statements for the upcoming Puntland parliamentary and presidential elections.

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