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3 July 2006

NUSOJ Office Raided, Forcibly Ordered Its Leaders to Leave

After executive committee meeting, today three armed militias entered at 11:15am the office of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) in Mogadishu and forcibility ordered members of the executive committee to go out in five seconds if not their dead bodies will be taken from the office. The militias used AK47 and two small machineguns.

The militias are currently sitting inside and before the office, and in addition to that ordered the members of the executive committee to leave their notebooks in the office, which they have done.

In the afternoon of Friday 30th of June, the office was broken in, and union’s seal, financial documents, alerts’ archive and other documents were taken. One of the militias was already identified as one of the militias that have been working with Islamic courts in the business village of Black Sea. Some members of the executive committee realised that the office was broken and entered in the evening of Friday.

Following this attack, the NUSOJ organising secretary Ali Moallim Isak received a call from a hidden number and was told that he is seen as he is walking in the street and will be killed in the street.  

The executive committee told in their meeting today the chairperson of the supreme council to stop his politically motivated emails intended to harm the union, and to tell the executive committee of what he knows about the break-in of the union’s office on the Friday afternoon.

On 29th June, the National Union of Somali Journalists released a semi-annual report on the press freedom situation in the country. The report titled " Somalia’s Journalists Feel Themselves at Greater Risk than Ever Before". In this report, huge self-censorship and gross violations of media workers’ rights, which Mogadishu media employers threatened to speak to the union of they called "a different language".

"We strongly condemn this thoughtless act, and this is not the way to silence NUSOJ" said the NUSOJ Secretary General. "Principles and objectives guide us and will not divert from them". "If the said different language is this one, we say to the attackers that they failed, and we will not stop our work".

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