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Freelance Journalist fatally wounded in a suicide attack, Radio Station seized

By National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
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MOGADISHU, Somalia, May 2, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Freelance broadcast journalist was seriously wounded at a suicide bomb attack in cafeteria in the central Somalia town of Dhusamareb on Tuesday afternoon, meanwhile Radio station has been seized by the Shabab on south western regions of Somalia, NUSOJ reported.

A suicide bomb blast ripped inside a cafeteria in the town of Dhusamareb on Tuesday afternoon on May 1, 2012, where elders, politicians and MPs at the cafeteria were believed to have been targeted. At least four people including member of parliaments were reported dead and at least a dozen were wounded including the journalist, according to eyewitnesses,

Bashiir Mohamed Salaad better known as (Bashiir Sanka), who reports both the Mogadishu based Dalsan Radio and Radio Voice of Central Dhusamareb (Idaacadda Codka Bartamaha Dhusamareb) based in Dhusamareb

- where the attack took place – was seriously wounded after a shrapnel from the suicide bomb blast hit on the chests, according to the Director of the radio, Ahmed Isse Guutaale who spoke with NUSOJ via phone from Dhusamareb.

“Bashir was there to report on a planned meeting that was scheduled to take place there at the cafeteria, but unfortunately, the site automatically changed into a horrific scene with pools of blood.”

Ahmed Isse Guutaale, Director of the radio told NUSOJ, “All the wounds including Bashir were immediately rushed to Guri'el, a nearby town for treatment.”

“Bashir's health is deteriorating and went unconscious as big shrapnel hit his chest.” Guutaale added.

No group has claimed the responsibility of the attack, though the Al-Qaeda affiliated Shabab claimed previous such attacks including the suicide bomb blast on the National Theatre that killed Somalia Football chiefs and wounded more than 10 journalists.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the attack on the strongest terms possible that wounded killed several people and wounded at least a dozen including our colleague, Bashiir Mohamed Salad.

“We condemn the suicide attack in the strongest terms possible that killed at least four people and wounded several others including our colleague journalist.” Mohamed Ibrahim, NUSOJ Secretary General said, “It is a tragic incident and I wish our colleague and other journalists wounded similar suicide blast in Mogadishu early last month, speedy recovery.”

In a seprate incident, in the town of Baardheere of Gedo region, militias affiliated to Shabab, affiliated to Al-Qaeda stormed the premises of Radio Markabley and took over the whole station, ordering the management and the staff to leave immediately, on Monday morning 30 April, 2012 around 7:30am local time, NUSOJ reported.

Militias allied with the Shabab militant group, came the premises of the Radio Markabley in Baardheere town on Monday morning on 30 April,

2012 around 7:30am local time and told the management and the staff to leave immediately adding that the station has been taken over, according to local journalists.

On the same day, the radio went on air airing rebroadcast of Radio Andalus, a renowned Shabab owned radio, which airs Shabab programs and its related policies, local journalists told NUSOJ.

Several journalists fled the town including all female journalists either ceased the profession or fled the town following the Shabab's imposition of draconian rules on the media and journalists between

2009 and 2010 ordering that any media or journalists found airing programs not relating to the Shabab will either confiscated or arrested, while it called the work the female journalists un-islamic.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the act of take over of the Radio Markabley and calls for the Shabab to free the radio station and allow its management and staff to operate freely without fear.

Radio Markabley, which was founded on February 6, 2008 in the town of Baardheere in Gedo region preserved those strict rules only to survive and honour and exercise the journalistic profession no matter how the freedom of expression was denied and its staff journalists were targeted for their reporting which the Shabab deemed contrary to their policies and the radio station has been closed down several times on this way.

The Radio has joined the ranks of the already seized media station. At least 10 radio stations were confiscated by the Shabab since 2009.