The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called for an investigation into the death of private radio station director Abdou Mahaman, who was killed after his vehicle ran over a landmine Tuesday night in Niger’s capital Niamey.
“We are shocked by this brutal killing and we are sending out condolences to his wife, his children and his colleagues,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. “We firmly condemn this act and call on the government to conduct a full investigation to bring those responsible to justice.”
Abdou Mahaman, known professionally as “Jeannot,” was the director of the private radio station R et M based in Niamey. As he was going home from work on Tuesday night at about 11 pm his vehicle ran over the mine in the residential neighborhood of Yantala, in Niamey. A woman who was travelling with him was seriously wounded.
It’s the first time such an explosion occurred in the capital since the Tuareg-led rebellion began almost a year ago in the north of the country. In relation to their coverage of this conflict four journalists have been detained and face serious sentences if found guilty.
The editor-in-chief of R et M, Kanta Mahaman, told IFJ that this morning two devices were removed by experts in the same area. “Sources say the three mines were linked and were planted in a road leading to the army chief’s home,” Mahaman added.
According to local sources the director was not the target.
“It’s a great lost for the media community in Niger. Jeannot was the director of the first private radio station in the country and the vice-president of the media house,” said Ado Wada, Secretary General of the Union of Information Agents of Niger.
The IFJ fears that Niger’s government is increasing its pressure on journalists in an attempt to silence reports on the rebellion.
The IFJ is calling for the release of Moussa Kaka, correspondent for France’s Radio France International, Ibrahim Manzo Diallo, director of Air-Info, and Thomas Dandois and Pierre Creisson, journalists working for the Franco-German television network Arte.
For further information contact the IFJ: +221 33 842 01 43
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries