Several journalists seriously hurt in press conference bombing in Mogadishu

Published on 2 July 2010

Two journalists arrested in Mogadishu, a third wounded

Agence France-Presse correspondent Mustafa Haji Abdinur and freelance cameraman Yusuf Jama Abdullahi were arrested and held for several hours by the Somali security forces in Mogadishu on 1 July, when they went to cover shooting between the Islamist Al-Shabaab militia and the forces of the Transitional Federal Government.

The authorities, who accused them of colluding with Al-Shabaab, made them erase all their photos before releasing them. These included photos of Farah Abdi Warsame, a journalist who had been wounded in the clashes.

30.06.2010 - Reporters Without Borders condemned a bomb attack yesterday that left around a dozen people injured including about eight journalists who were seriously hurt.

The bomb went off at a press conference given by the spokesman for the Islamist al-Shahaab militia at a police college in a northern district of the capital Mogadishu.

“Journalists and civilians are never spared in the conflict pitting al-Shahaab against the Somalia Transitional Federal Governement Forces. It is shocking that those who carried out this attack should target a press conference knowing that the main victims would be journalists”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

“The Somali authorities should do their utmost to guarantee the safety of journalists and civilians as demanded by the Geneva Conventions” the organisation added.

“All parties in the conflict [should] cease hostilities and desist from taking their bloody conflict to the journalists and un-armed civilians”, said the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), Reporters Without Borders’ partner organisation in Somalia.

At least eight journalists were badly injured in the blast, four of whom have been identified. They were: Muse Mohamoud Jisow, Ilyas Ahmed Abukar, freelancer journalist, Abdinasir Hirse Idle, journalist for HornAfrik radio and TV and Abdirisak Elmi Jama, journalist for the website. One of them told the NUSOJ that those behind the attack had been informed that a press conference was being held on the premises and that journalists would be present. Al-Shabaab had just taken control of the police training centre where the bomb went off.

Three journalists were killed and at least five others were injured in a bomb attack on a Mogadishu hotel on 3 December 2009 - this time attributed to al-Shabaab - that left scores of dead and injured. See the previous release.