IFJ Condemns Raid and Shutdown of Somali Union of Journalists Office by Militiamen

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the raid and shutdown of the office of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) in Mogadishu by armed militiamen.

“After the executive committee meeting today, three armed militia members entered the NUSOJ office and forcibility ordered members of the executive committee to go out in five seconds or, the armed men threatened, if they did not leave, their dead bodies would be taken from the office” the NUSOJ said.

On Friday, June 30th 2006, the office was broken into and the union's seal, financial documents, alerts' archive and other documents were taken away, the NUSOJ added.

After the raid today, militia members were still occupying the NUSOJ office in Mogadishu, which fell under the control of the Islamic Courts Union last month.

“We firmly condemn these unwarranted actions which are aimed at intimidating the NUSOJ members and the Somali journalists in general” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of IFJ Africa Office.

NUSOJ Organising Secretary Ali Moallim Isak has been receiving death threats on the telephone.

“We urge the Chairman of Somalia's Union of Islamic Courts, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, to give particular attention to this critical issue so that the NUSOJ office will be reopened immediately and unconditionally and the members of the NUSOJ and all journalists will be protected by the courts,” Baglo said. “He promised to do so for international journalists after the murder on June 23rd of Swedish journalist Martin Adler, whose killer is still at large.”

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries.