Mogadishu,Sunatimes- Facts and the history teach the people the reality of life. Somali Journalists live in a country infested with piracy, terrorists, warlords and freelancer militia who all have agenda to attack the free press in Somalia. Apart from this, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is a source of the dangers against the Journalists.
Somali Journalists are facing one of most dangerous groups in the world, Alshabab, a militant organization that claimed the deadly terror attacks in Kampala that killed 76 people including football fans, journalists and aid workers.
Alshabab had killed over 20 journalists in Somalia among them directors, editors, presenters, field reporters or media owners. They have forced over 70 to leave their jobs, 100 others to flee the country.
The Shabab, the militant organization allied to Alqaeda, and their sister organization Hezb al-Islam had launched a severe campaign against the media in Somalia recent months. Forcing the media to stop all sorts of music, advertisement melodies, songs and so on.
Nine journalists were killed in Somalia last year, while a senior journalist was abducted and later slain by Alshabab’s Hassan Hanafi, a man who is a signed to kill the journalists.
The committee to protect Journalists-CPJ, a media watchdog based in United States called Somalia as Africa’s deadliest country for the journalists.
Amid the daily diet of threats, the journalists confront horrific violence and constant fear which forced them to obey every single order from the Taliban-style militants in Somalia.
The journalists in Somalia cover street battles, assassinations and public executions, shelling and displacement as well as the situation of the internally displaced people who are in a dire humanitarian situation.
Traumatic experiences became daily life for the journalists. And every news story that can annoy a fighter can result the death of a director or the reporter.
"I know there were several colleagues who were killed from the position I am running now, but I have to run it, I am ready to be here until young masked man to come and kill me as they killed my colleagues before" said a director of one of the 14 independent radio stations in Somalia.
"I don’t mostly move from my office room, I sleep in it, the last time I have seen my children was seven months ago and they live in Mogadishu with me" he added.
"I am suspicious all the time, I consider myself as a walking dead, every passerby becomes a potential killer for me, so I am not sure how many minutes I am going to live"
The fear doubles daily. Unidentified callers ring the phones of the reporters and tell them that they are in a short list to be killed. The death threats makes all the time to the top of the list.
"Every single minute I get a call from unknown source, they tell me that my time to die is coming short" said, a presenter at Shabelle Radio who requested anonymity for security reason. "I grew suspicious, and think every young man coming near me as a potential assassin"
"Someone called me and told me that my voice is melodic while I am reading the sports program from the radio, he wants me to read the programs just as a commanding military man" "The man argued that my voice can attract women" he added.
All these are not the turning points. The international federation of Journalists (IFJ), the largest journalists’ organization in the world is suspected as one of the main sources facilitating the dangers and attacks against the Somali journalists.
IFJ provides funds to Alshabab’s killer Hassan Hanafi through its handpicked secretary of Somali Journalists Omar Faruk.
The IFJ’s regional office in Dakar-Senegal facilitates the mission which the office in charge Gabriel Ayite Baglo helps Omar Faruk to implement hidden agendas to generate money and claim as advocates of the press freedom.
The facts that make clear IFJ’s involvement in the attacks on the press in Somalia existed the last two years, but there is no local authority which can help the press to go to the justice and sue IFJ nor international entity, which the journalists can refer to their concerns against IFJ.
IFJ’s Omar Faruk (the so called secretary of the National Union Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) an organization created by IFJ and dictated by Faruk himself) is the cousin of Hassan Hanafi, the Alshabab commander for the assassinations of the journalists. Hanafi used to be a radio Journalist and turn to be a terrorist after he joined Alshabab in 2007.
Both Faruk and Hanafi are from Gugundhabe clan, a dominant in the west of Hiran region of Somalia. And also are cousins from mothers.
Their relation is clearly known inside and outside Somalia, while IFJ’s funds and support is fueling Hanafi burning fires through Omar Faruk.
The Journalists, in every manner, did every move to show IFJ the brutality of Faruk, but it ignored concerns of the journalists and clearly confirmed that they are standing by their affiliate in Somalia which credited them as a source of dangers against the Journalists in Somalia.
Another apparent and hidden agenda of IFJ against the Somali Journalists emerged after sources close to Faruk tried to put some exiled Journalists in Uganda in Danger. They tried to depict the exiled journalists to have links with the suicide bombers in Uganda who killed 76 innocent civilians.
Any Journalist and sane person in Somalia condemned the attacks carried out by the terrorists, but shedding light on the journalists as terrorists means an apparent attack against the human rights of the exiled journalists who were displaced Faruk and his Alshabab cousin.
The motive to mastermind such nasty conspiracy is not yet clear, but the Somali Journalists who are exiled in Uganda told that they believe that IFJ and its Somali boy – Faruk- are trying to put the journalists in danger so that they can create a project claiming to protect the journalists after they were ended up in jails.
"It is apart that the arrest of the Journalists in Uganda who were detained after the bombings in Uganda was masterminded by Omar faruk, because he called some of the journalists and threatened to arrest them as Alshabab members" said one of the journalists who were interrogated by the Ugandan police.
"IFJ’s previous project was to displace us from our home town of Mogadishu, now they are chasing us from the countries we sought refuge in" he added.
Another Journalist who also wants to be anonymous for his security said, "When we discuss as journalists we say we have two enemies, one is Alshabab and the other is IFJ" "The bridge connecting Alshabab and IFJ is Omar Faruk, because he is a cousin of Alshabab’s Hanafi who killed Said Tahlil Ahmed, the director of Horn Afrik, Mukhtar Hirabe, the director of Shabelle Radio and Sheikh-Nur Abkey, the senior journalist who was slain last month in Mogadishu"
"It is unfortunate that IFJ is rewarding the killers of the journalists and claim that they are worried about the situation of the journalists".
In Kenya and Uganda, Faruk has some gangs who harass any journalist that publicly talks about his atrocities, this caused every journalist to keep silent fearing the Kenya-Ugandan gangs to trace and kill him/her easily.
This may well be the fault of the international human rights organizations who know what is going on in Somalia but wait to see the end of the free press that is compromising lives to telling the stories of the suffering people of Somalia.
It is not yet clear what effect this new attack on the journalists in exile will have on the Somali journalists in Kenya and Uganda. But new phases of fear, harassment and intimidations launched by crime groups organized by Omar Faruk getting help from IFJ posed among the Journalists who fled from their war-torn homeland for safety.
Neither the IFJ nor its actor (Faruk) has been able to address the significant portions of risks facing the Journalists, but they only focus on their own imperialistic interests which they try to reach in every manner including the death of the journalists in needed.
IFJ’s rewards to Omar Faruk, the killer of the journalists, include their support to form what they called National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) in Somalia, which is a one man organization, East African Journalists association (EAJA) which is supposed to be a regional body of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopian, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia and Federation of African Journalists (FAJ).
All there organizations are led by Omar Faruk, a young Somali man, whose experience in Journalism is at the stake and is further more neither academically nor experience a Journalist.
In Africa, all nations avoided to lead the IFJ created organizations like Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) which is posted like a continental organization but lost the confidence of the African Journalists and states it was supposed to represent, and EAJA which is depicted as the regional body of East Africa but remain as one man NGO.
The question is: if NUSOJ is the national body of the Somali Journalists why IFJ is running it, why the Somali Journalists have no access to address it and why it is a one man NGO since 2002 when it was established? And if EAJA is a regional body why Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania who have the biggest media in the region avoid claiming its leaders ship, while South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, and the other African Nations avoided to have a role in what IFJ is posing as the continent’s federation of?.
Only omar Faruk is the sole person who accepts to implement the hidden agendas of some individuals in IFJ who have financial interests in killing, displacing and harassing of the Somali Journalists.
Even IFJ’s Baglo have avoided to take the leadership of the so called FAJ but helps IFJ’s interest in Somalia.
The records will never lie and IFJ, Alshabab, Faruk, Hanafi and Baglo, all will know that there will be a time they will end up in jails and will meet accountability of their brutality and attacks against the Somali Journalists.
Finally, IFJ is a personae non gratae, as well as Baglo, Faruk and other killers, so they should stop harassing the Somalia Journalists, whether they are inside Somalia or in exile. And We call the governments of Kenya, Uganda and Djibouti to respect the international convention of the refugee and protect the journalists in their countries.
© Sunatimes, editorial.