IFJ Calls for the Release of Four Media Staff Kidnapped in Somalia


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called for the release of three journalists -- Canadian Amanda Lindhout, Australian Nigel Brenan and SomaliAbdifatah Mohammed Elmi and their driver only named as Mahad -- after they were abducted on Saturday near the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

“This shocking incident underscores the terrible dangers and threats that continue to face journalists in Somalia,” said Gabriel Baglo, the Director of the IFJ Africa office. “We call for them to be set free immediately. The Somali authorities must act urgently to see our colleagues come to no harm.”

According to IFJ’s affiliate, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), Lindhout and Brenan, who are freelance journalists, were abducted on Saturday as they travelled to Afgoye, situated 25 kilometres from Mogadishu,to visit camps for displaced civilians. Elmi was helping them as translator.

The union says that no claim has yet been made and the kidnappers have not been identified which has added to concerns. “We are worried about their safety as we have had no contact with anybody saying they are holding the journalists and their driver,” said Omar Faruk Osman, the Secretary General of NUSOJ.

Over the past two years there have been a number of incidents of foreigners, especially humanitarian workers, being abducted for ransom in Somalia and then released unharmed.

This latest case is the first involving media personnel since the abduction of French journalists Gwen Le Gouil who was detained eight days last December 2007 in the north of the country.

For more information contact the IFJ at + 221 33 842 01 43
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 122 countries worldwide