Somalia : Journalist survives attempted murder amid presidential campaign

Somali journalist Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed survived an attempt on his life after a police officer shot at him as he was leaving Daljir Radio station building, in Puntland region, on Sunday 9 December. The journalist was unhurt but the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has denounced this attack and called for an end of threats and physical attacks on journalists, which are increasing ahead of the general elections in the region, to be held in January 2019.

Credit : Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed

On Sunday 9 December, the Director-General of Daljir Radio, Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed, nicknamed "Tallman", survived what appears to be assassination attempt as he was leaving the building radio station in Puntland’s city Bossasso, NUSOJ reported.

According to Radio Daljir and other journalists who witnessed the attack, a Puntland police officer opened fire on Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed, shooting several times from close range in his direction.The journalist managed to escape the attack safe and uninjured.

In a statement released on 11th December, NUSOJ explains :

“The assaulting officer was reportedly shouting when firing shots “Why do you talk about Asad Osman Abdullahi?”.

Asad Osman Abdullahi, former head of Puntland Security Force (PSF) is one of presidential candidates for the Puntland presidency in the upcoming general elections to be held in January 2019.

Radio Daljir and journalist Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed have reportedly published critical reports on the candidate.

NUSOJ says the union has received “several reports of journalists and media directors threatened by Puntland officials and supporters of candidates to censor their reports in fear of physical attacks, threats or financial pressure on media houses”.

Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General, pointed at the mounting pressure and threats that journalists face in Somalia, especially in election times. “Journalists must not become targets of threats and physical attacks by political activists and security forces simply for doing their work,”  he said.

NUSOJ sent a letter to Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas, demanding “increase security and protection of journalists during ongoing presidential election campaigns and swift investigations into [the] attack.”

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