IFJ Calls for Protection of Media after News Agency Comes under Attack in Yemen

The International Federation of Journalists

(IFJ) today accused forces loyal to Hameed al Ahmar, a Yemeni tribal leader, of

endangering the safety of staff at Saba news agency after their attack on

Monday which left two journalists injured and many more colleagues in a state

of shock.

The attack took place as the al Ahmar's forces

launched their offensive against the government army, taking over some

government building, including the Ministry of Commerce and Planning and the

Yemeni Air Line offices which were burned down. The attack on the news agency

lasted several hours and stopped only after the intervention of the Yemeni

Journalists Syndicate (YJS), an IFJ affiliate who assured the attacking forces

that there were no government's soldiers on the agency's premises.

"This is a serious incident which could have

ended in loss of life and serious injuries to journalists and staff," said Jim

Boumelha, IFJ President. "We commend our colleagues at the YJS for their brave

intervention which ended the attack. But we reiterate our strong condemnation

of all those who put lives of journalists and media personnel at risk."

The YJS also condemned the attack and said in a

statement that the offices of the Sana news agency were bombed on Monday 23 May

2011 by al Hamar's forces in an attack which caused serious damage to the

premises and caused panic among some 50 staff members who were inside. Two

journalists, Farouk Al Kamali and Ahmad Mutawakkil, were also injured in the

gunfire. The YJS organised a solidarity march yesterday to denounce the

attack and attempts to stir up civil war in Yemen.

The IFJ backs the YJS call and warns that the

risks to journalists' safety are likely to increase because of the breakdown of

law and order in the country.

"Journalists in Yemen face tough times as they

are confronted with batons and bullets during this unfolding crisis. Now more

than ever before, they must count on our support to guarantee their protection

and safety," added Boumelha.

For more

information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07

The IFJ represents more than

600.000 journalists in 131 countries