Assailants throw grenades at radio station in Puntland

Nairobi, October 16, 2013Unidentified assailants threw two grenades at the Galkayo offices of Radio Daljir in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland on Tuesday night, according to news reports and local journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attack on Radio Daljir, which has been targeted in the past, and calls on authorities to identify the perpetrators and ensure they are brought to justice.

“While maintaining security in Galkayo is challenging, authorities must do their utmost to end repeated attacks on the station,” said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. “They will make progress only if they thoroughly investigate and prosecute this and all previous attacks.”

Tuesday’s attack, which occurred at around 8 p.m., damaged the office wall and a vehicle, news reports said. No one was injured despite journalists and other staff members being inside the offices. The assailants fled in a vehicle with no license plates, news reports said.

Authorities are investigating the attack, but have not arrested anyone yet, local journalists said. So far, no motive has been identified. The station was able to continue broadcasting.

Some local journalists said they suspected the attacks could be linked to the station’s past programming, which included broadcasts that encouraged citizens not to join insurgent militia groups such as Al-Shabaab. Radio Daljir staff are planning to improve security around their station’s compound by installing security cameras, among other measures, local journalists said.

The station has been targeted in the past. In August 2011, assailants threw a grenade at the Radio Daljir offices in Galkayo, which injured a security guard and damaged the front of the station, according to CPJ research. An unexploded bomb was found outside the station’s gate in May 2011, according to local journalists.

Two unidentified gunmen killed Radio Daljir journalist Farhan Jeemis Abdulle in May 2012 as he walked home from work at the station, according to news reports. Local journalists said at the time that they suspected Al-Shabaab insurgents had killed Abdulle in connection with his coverage of a program that encouraged young people to lay down their guns. The perpetrators have not yet been found.