Posted by: africanpressorganization | 24 August 2008

Three Journalists Abducted in Somalia / Journalists deplore as “Cruel Abduction”

Three Journalists Abducted in Somalia / Journalists deplore as “Cruel Abduction”


MOGADISHU, Somalia, August 24, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) today condemned the Saturday’s abduction of Canadian female journalist Amanda Lindhout and Australian photojournalist Nigel Brenan at KM13, western suburb of Mogadishu between Afgoye district and the capital city.

These two journalists arrived in Mogadishu on Wednesday 20 August 2008. Amanda, who is Baghdad based journalist, is freelancing for French TV, called French 24 & a Canadian broadcaster Global National News. Nigel Brennan is freelance photographer for a news media organisation that was unidentified.

The journalists were also kidnapped with Somali photojournalist called Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi, who was helping the Canadian and Australian journalists as their translator and to take photos from places where the two journalists cannot go for security reasons. Their driver Mahad was also abducted with them.

NUSOJ has been investigating the case of the abduction since it emerged to find the motive behind the abduction, people responsible and the whereabouts of the journalists and their driver. No formal claim of responsibility was made and the motive for the kidnapping remains unknown. As well, there have been no demands.

However, information received this morning states that Amanda, Nigel, Abdifatah and their driver Mahad are being in Mogadishu, particularly north-eastern neighbourhood of Suqa Holaha village by militias. It is not clear whether they are being held for political purposes, bargaining chips or financial purposes. But journalists who spoke in condition of anonymity for their security said the abduction seems pre-planned attack.  

“We are appalled by this cruel abduction of journalists and call for the immediate release of our colleagues who are being held captive because of their noble work for Somali people” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

“We demand that those holding Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi, Nigel Brenan and Amanda Lindhout free them unconditionally and immediately” Omar Faruk said. “We are worried about their safety as we have had no contact with anybody saying they are holding three journalists and their driver”.

The journalists were abducted as they came from interviewing and taking photos from Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Afgoye district. “They were simply doing their job of reporting the story and presenting the plight of Somali people to the world” Omar Faruk declared.

In separate attack, the TFG police arrested journalist Ahmed Jeylani of Radio Voice of Holy Kuran in Bondhere district of Mogadishu in the evening of Friday 22 August 2008. The police detained the journalist overnight without charges and released without stating the reason behind the arrest. “We deplore this despicable targeting of innocent civilians” said Omar Faruk.  

“The Transitional Government has failed to implement its promises for the media after eight months in Office” said Omar Faruk.  “Attacks from police and government militias against media are persistent, and this remains major challenge to the credibility of the government”.

“We call upon transitional government, Mogadishu elders and intellectuals to stand up and take steps to protect all journalists from becoming victims of violence and intimidation” Omar Faruk Osman added.



SOURCE : The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)


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