26 April 2013

Somalia: Somaliland Journalist Survives Assassination Attempt

Two gunmen attacked the headquarters of the Hargeisa-based independent newspaper Hubaal News Network at around 11:20 pm on Wednesday (April 24), injuring manager Mohamed Ahmed Jama, known as Aloley.

"We were finishing up our work on the newspaper when the gunmen attacked us. They immediately targeted our manager," editor Hassan Hussein Kefkef told Sabahi.

He said they hit Jama with a club, breaking his hand, but he fortunately survived when they missed a shot fired at him.

"The gunman shot his pistol at me and it hit the wall," Jama said.

One of the gunmen escaped, but newspaper employees captured the other one and handed him over to Criminal Investigation Department officials and security police, Jama said.

Evidence found on the mobile phone of the arrested man showed that officials from the Somaliland administration are involved in the crime, Jama said.

"Unfortunately, we have confirmed that the man who committed the crime is a member of the police force," he said. "He exchanged phone calls with government officials, such as the director of presidential transportation, a short while before the attack."

Chief of Police Brigadier General Abdullahi Fadal Iman confirmed that the arrested man was a member of the police force and is currently under investigation. He said they are also looking for the escaped gunman.

The Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA) and Somali Media for Peace and Development have condemned the attack, calling it the first of its kind in Somaliland.

"It is [a crime] against independence, freedom of the press, democracy and the system of governance and we condemn it," said SOLJA Deputy Chairperson Mohamed Abdi Urad.

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