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



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