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Nigeria20 January 2009

Journalist escapes attack on her home by armed men

Reporters Without Borders today voiced its concern after armed men burst into the apartment block of Janet Mba, editor of the magazine The Scroll in Arepo in Ogun State in south-western Nigeria. She escaped attack because she managed to call the police before they could strike.

The worldwide press freedom organisation recorded at least 10 cases of physical assaults and eight cases of threats against journalists in the country during 2008.

Around 15 men launched their attack at 2am on 15 January, getting inside the apartment block where Janet Mba lives, in a journalists’ neighbourhood known as “Journalists’ Village”. After neutralising several neighbours and the watchman they asked where she lived. Mba managed to call police before they reached her home. A squad of officers led by the Lagos State police commissioner, Marvel Akpoyibo, were quickly on the spot.

The assailants fled after an exchange of fire with the police and before they could be identified. An investigation has been opened to try to discover the reason for the attack.

“This incident is the latest in a long list of violence, threats and intimidation of all kinds against Nigerian journalists in the past months”, Reporters Without Borders said. “We urge the local authorities to handle this case with the utmost rigour and to do everything possible to find those responsible and bring them to trial. It is vital that steps are taken to protect Janet Mba and her family”, the organisation added.

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