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Saturday, May 24, 2008

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia May 24 (Garowe Online)

A group of Somali journalists have fled their home country after receiving death threats and facing intimidation from the government and insurgent groups vying for power in Somalia.

The group consists of 13 journalists, who represent various government-owned media outlets and privately-operated news agencies.

"The al Shabaab group does not want [published] reports of positive steps taken by the Transitional Government and the African Union peacekeepers," says Ali Muhiyadin Ali, formerly a Mogadishu-based reporter for Somali news network Garowe Online.

Mr. Ali says that he fled Somalia's chaotic capital in December, after his brother – the late Mohamed Muhiyadin – was killed in a roadside bomb planted by suspected insurgents.
Mohamed, the older of the two brothers, was for years a well-known newspaper editor in

Mogadishu before accepting a position as the spokesman for the Mayor's Office.

"They [al Shabaab] called me and emailed me many times and threatened kill me if I did not stop reporting," the exiled Somali reporter, Ali Muhiyadin, tells me from his newfound residence in Addis Ababa.

Ali says even his parents were called and warned about their son's journalism work. By then, he decided to flee Mogadishu for his personal safety, and the safety of his family.

TV host Fardosa Mohamed Abdulle says she fled Mogadishu with her siblings and children after receiving threatening phone calls from extremists linked to al Shabaab.
Ms. Fardosa hosted a television program on peace and development.

The Somali Embassy in Addis Ababa has already registered this group of exiled journalists to enable them to reside in Ethiopia. Currently, the Embassy is also working to bring the situation of these exiled reporters to the attention of the world.

Last year, another group of Somali journalists fled Mogadishu to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi after facing arrests and threats, mostly from the government's side.

Media personnel in many parts of Somalia have faced intimidation and death since the 1990s, due to the absence of an effective national government that upholds the rule of law in that Horn of Africa country.

The Rest @ Garowe Online

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