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Founder of Somalian rights-based NGO injured in targeted bomb attack

A Somali woman reacts after a car bomb detonates at a busy market in Mogadishu, 26 November 2018
A Somali woman reacts after a car bomb detonates at a busy market in Mogadishu, 26 November 2018

MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images

This statement was originally published on africafex.org on 5 December 2018.

The African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX) denounces an attempt by hooligans on the life of Somali journalist and Chairman of rights-based NGO, Human Rights Journalists (HRJ) in Somalia.

According to a local media report, Ismail Sheikh Khalifa is seriously injured after an explosive device which was planted in his car went off in the early evening of December 4, 2018 in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Khalifa is said to have sustained serious injuries and was bleeding profusely. He is currently undergoing treatment at the Erdogan Hospital (formerly Digfeer hospital).

The reason behind the attempt on Khalifah's life is unclear and no perpetrators have claimed responsibility for the attack or have been apprehended.

AFEX is seriously concerned about the deteriorating safety of journalists' situation in Somalia. The use of explosives to target journalists in Somalia is not new. On December 11, 2017, Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed, nicknamed Gabow, who used to work for privately owned Kalsan TV, was killed after an improvised explosive device was fitted to his car.

We call upon the police to investigate this heinous attack against Ismail Sheikh Khalifa and bring the perpetrators to book. AFEX calls on the government of Somalia to ensure that attacks against journalists are investigated to a logical conclusion and the perpetrators severely punished.

Additionally, we appeal to the government of Somalia and all relevant stakeholders to put in place safety of journalists mechanisms to ensure that journalists are safe in carrying out their duties. Impunity for crimes against journalists cannot continue to prevail over justice in Somalia.

We wish Khalifa a speedy recovery.

Members of AFEX:

Africa Freedom of Information Centre
Association for Media Development in South Sudan
Center for Media Studies and Peace Building
Freedom of Expression Institute
Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda
Institute for Media and Society
International Press Centre
Journaliste en danger
Media Foundation for West Africa
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Media Rights Agenda
National Union of Somali Journalists
West African Journalists Association

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