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Senior journalist escapes assassination attempt

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) strongly condemns the assassination attempt against Director of Radio Galkayo Awil Mohamud Abdi in Galkayo, Puntland.

On Friday, 2 August, at around 23hrs local time, armed men followed Awil from Radio Galkayo. 5 minutes later when Abdi arrived his house and put on the light in his bedroom, seven bullets slammed into the bedroom window near where he had been standing. Awil threw himself to the ground. Holes in his bedroom wall and bullets on the floor were found.

Speaking to NUSOJ Awil Mohamud Abdi, Director of Radio Galkayo, said, “they wanted to communicate a message to me as well as to Radio Galkayo and the journalist community in Galkayo. They want to prevent us from telling the truth but I want to tell them that we will not be discouraged.”

“It was clearly an assassination attempt that failed. We call on Puntland authorities to thoroughly investigate this violent attack and to bring those responsible to justice,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. “Authorities must provide protection to journalists and their media houses”.

There was no claim of responsibility for the assassination attempt. Most suspicions pointed to Al-Shabaab fighters, which had recently singled out number of Galkayo journalists over their coverage of targeted killings in the town.

But some journalists insisted that they refused to rule out involvement by politicians who are using intimidation and violence against journalists to make political statements for the upcoming Puntland parliamentary and presidential elections.