Two journalists attacked at presidential palace

JUNE 22, 2008
Posted July 30, 2008

Abdifatah Mursal, Ogaal
Faisal Mohamed, Heegan

Presidential guards beat two newspaper reporters from the northern breakaway republic of Somaliland on June 22, according to the editor of one of the papers. Abdifatah Mursal from the private Ogaal and Faisal Mohamed from the private Heegan were attacked by presidential guards while taking photos of Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin, the editor of Heegan told CPJ.

According to Heegan editor Mohamed Amin, Mursal and Mohamed were told by the presidential spokesman, Si’id Adani Moge, that Kahin would not accept an interview but that the journalists were allowed to take pictures. Mursal rushed over to take photos of Kahin as he left the presidential palace in Hargeisa for an official trip to Djibouti, presidential spokesman Moge told CPJ. According to local journalists, one of the presidential guards rushed over and started beating Mursal, and Mohamed proceeded to take photographs of the incident. Other presidential guards raced to the scene and started to kick Mohamed repeatedly for taking pictures of the beating, local journalists told CPJ.

However, according to the presidential spokesman, the journalists rushed to the gate where President Kahin was leaving and pushed the guards aside. Moge told CPJ that the guards were not aware that journalists were present at the palace and simply reacted to individuals rushing toward the president.

The independent Heegan, a new publication that started in May and publishes three times per week, was unable to produce a newspaper for two days since they rely on Mohamed for reporting, Amin said.