Nairobi, 23rd of July 2017 –
News crew of Dire Dawa Mass Media agency in Ethiopia has been attacked and ended up with a death of the crew’s driver Mr. Suleiman Mahamed. It is the responsibility of the authorities of Ethiopia to investigate on this attack in first place and should bring the criminals in front of the law, said the committee to protect the journalists.
The news crew was attacked while they were traveling to the capital, Addis Ababa on July 13 in Meiso, in Oromia state. They were on the way to cover the visit by Eritrean President Mr. Isaias Afwerki. According to The Reporter, the driver was attacked for the second time separately. After the first attack the crew was taken to the police station and once they left the police station the driver faced this unfortunate incident. On July 19th Mr.Suleiman was died in the hospital after a coma. According to The Reporter, It was said that driver, Mr. Suleiman was suffered from head and rib injuries on the attack.
Under the leadership of the Prime Minister Mr.Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia has started expanding its media freedom environment in the past few months. But with this vital incident of attacking the journalists violently all those will get vanished, said by CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal in Durban. It is said that the government should be totally responsible for the Dire Dawas Mass Media agency crew attack and should be investigated strictly and also in a reliable way. It is empersized that those who killed the media worker, Mr. Suleiman Mahamed should be punished in front of the law.
According to The Reporter the journalists who face the incident spoke with CPJ with a condition not reveal their names. They are fear of facing the revenge from the attackers. The media crew consists of Producer Amero Tesfaye, Cameraman Amin Sherif, broadcast reporters Biftu Yusuf and Muse Omer and Suleiman the Driver.
According to the reporter and the journalists who spoke with CPJ, they have explained when the news crew of Dire Dawa was on the way to Meiso and an unknown group of people stopped their vehicle and start questioning and blamed them for being the investigators. The news crew was attacked with the sticks and hands. The news crew has shown up their identification papers and let them know that they are journalists and said they explained the reason behind the visit too, said to CPJ by The reporter and the journalists.
Deressa Terese, the deputy head of the state communication bureau in Oramia told CPJ that this harassment was taken place during a tension period in that area. Recently there was a clash took place in between the local communities in Meiso. It was a part of conflict between Oromia and Somali regions of Ethiopia which have a longer conflict history. The news crew who spoke with CPJ has informed that they strongly believe the attackers are in attack with Somali region as Suleiman was of Somali ethnicity.
Deressa and the journalists told the CPJ after the first attack, they have taken the crew to a local police station. After sometime Suleiman left the police station alone and was found in the city with serious injuries. According to Deressa the same crew who did attacked earlier should be responsible for suleiman’s attack.
So far CPJ was unable to figure out the actual reason why the attackers took the news crew to the police station. As Deressa and one other person giving the statement saying the attackers wanted to investigate whether the journalists were actual investigators. In the other hand some other people saying they took the journalists to safeguard themselves.
According to Deressa Meiso police has already started the investigation of this attack but an article published on July 21st in The Reporter said the investigations have not started yet but will start. CPJ called and sent text messages to the City mayor of Dire Dawa City Ibrahim Usman were not answered.
INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR THE PROTECTION AND FREEDOM OF JOURNALISTS