A soft spoken and good mannered man, Omar Mohamud Wardere who worked for Risaala Radio in Mogadishu cuts a young university student’s figure. In his mid –thirties, he admits that he has “a baby face which belies my age”. However, the story of his lucky escape from his home town Mogadishu is no kid’s stuff.
Omar, a member of IFJ Somali affiliate NUSOJ, had been waiting for such a visit after publishing an article about the al-Shahab’s attack on the Ministry of Education
Omar owes his life to his quick thinking wife who confronted two men outside the family home in the Somali capital, last April. The men had come for Omar but his wife, suspecting their intention, refused to let them in. They exchanged a few words before the men forced their way into the family home. Omar, a member of IFJ Somali affiliate NUSOJ, had been waiting for such a visit after publishing an article about the al-Shahab’s attack on the Ministry of Education in which several people were killed. He had started receiving death threats from the militants group.
He had lost no time, hearing the men at the door, in making for the back door and jumped over the fence. The hitmen , in hot pursuit, shot his younger and only brother. Omar ran to his uncle’s home for safety. The uncle returned to Omar’s home and took his critically injured nephew to hospital where he passed away that very night. Omar could no longer stay in the city and left the country on a long and tortuous journey to safety.
He is now in Belgium and the IFJ is joining forces with NUSOJ and other press freedom organisations to support his application for protection.
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