Nairobi, January 25, 2017–At least four journalists were wounded in an attack on a hotel in the Somali capital Mogadishu today, according to media reports and Somali journalists.
Four militants rammed a car packed with explosives into the gate of the Dayah hotel, near the presidential palace, leaping out before the explosives detonated and exchanging fire with security guards, according to media reports. A second bomb went off after medics and journalists arrived at the scene, Hassan Ali Gesey, chairman of the Somali Independent Media Houses Association, told the Committee to Protect Journalists. At least 28 people were killed in the attack, Reuters reported. The militant group Al-Shabab claimed responsibility, according to news reports.
“Targeting medics and journalists arriving at the scene of an attack is a particularly cowardly, loathsome–and sadly, common–tactic of violent extremists,” CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal said from New York. “Journalists covering the aftermath of similar attacks should be aware of the risk of secondary attacks, and should proceed with extreme caution.”
Early reports varied on the number of journalists injured in the second blast. The BBC reported seven journalists were injured. A Somali journalist, speaking to CPJ on condition of anonymity because militants often target journalists in Somalia, said that six journalists were injured. Agence France-Presse reported that at least four journalists were injured. Gesey, of the Somali Independent Media Houses Organization, told CPJ that the injured journalists were in hospital, and in stable condition.
CPJ research indicates 62 journalists have been killed in Somalia since 1992, making it one of the world’s most dangerous places to be a reporter.
CPJ’s Journalist Security Guide includes a section on covering the scene of a terrorist attack and other disturbances.