News / Africa

Somali Journalists Denounce Military Attack on Press

Michael Onyiego

Somali journalists said Thursday they were deliberately targeted by government forces during the bombardment of a press-conference in Mogadishu. The United Nations-backed transitional government has not responded to the accusations.  

On Thursday, the Mogadishu-based National Union of Somali Journalists condemned the attack on a press-conference being held by Islamist group al-Shabab which killed an estimated 20 people and wounded over 30 others including eight journalists on Tuesday.

The attack took place at a police training facility in northern Mogadishu, recently captured by al-Shabab. The rebel group was holding a press conference to assert its control over the newly won Abdiaziz neighborhood when explosions, reportedly from mortars and rocket propelled grenades, struck the building.

Local media in Mogadishu have reported the United Nations-backed Transitional Federal Government was behind the attack. According to the secretary general of the National Union of Somali Journalists, Omar Faruk Osman, one of the injured journalists was threatened by government troops just before the press conference.

"When they took over the police school al-Shabab invited the media to come and cover the press conference that they were holding in the school," he said.  "One of the journalists who was wounded told our union that the problem in that time was that when they were crossing from the government side to this al-Shabab controlled area they were warned by the government soldiers telling them, 'you need to be very careful. Anything can happen to you because you are going to cover that press conference.," he added.

Osman denounced the attack, which he said was an attempt to manipulate the news and punish journalists perceived to be sympathetic to the forces of al-Shabab. Osman added that the attack was intentional pointing out that no other fighting in the neighborhood occurred before or after the blasts.  

The capital has been experiencing several days of violence as the government and African Union peacekeepers continue to battle al-Shabab militants for territory and power.   

Thursday marks Somalia's 50th anniversary since independence from Britain and Italy in 1960. Despite the occasion, residents in Mogadishu have been banned from celebration by Islamic groups which control large portions of the city.

The decree came Wednesday from Hizbul Islam, an armed Islamist faction which also banned music as "un-Islamic" in April.

Osman dismissed the announcement as an empty threat, saying the moratorium on the celebration was an attempt to reassert the authority of Hizbul Islam, which has been beset by internal strife over the past weeks.

There were signs of defiance in Mogadishu as Radio Shabelle continued to broadcast independence celebrations to the city. Radio Shabelle, which recently relocated from the rebel-controlled Bakara Market to a government-controlled area, said it was no longer afraid of the rebel group.

Radio Mogadishu, run by the Transitional Federal Government, and Radio Bar-kulan, run by the United Nations in Nairobi, also continued their celebration of independence over the airwaves.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid