- A celebrated woman TV presenter of Puntland's privately-owned Eastern Television Network (ETN) on 4 May escaped murder attempts on her life.
Bisharo Waeys, the last woman working openly as a journalist in the semi-autonomous region of north-eastern Somalia, came under fire from several armed men while driving home in Bossasso. The presenter of a popular talk show in which she invites singers from the region escaped by accelerating away fast, the National Union of Somali Journalists reported.
Her worries were doubled the following day when she received two text messages threatening to kill her if she did not stop her entertainment programme on ETN.
Although no group has claimed responsibility for the cowardly attacks, most people squarely blamed the armed Islamic "Al-Shabaab" group, which has been notorious for carrying out most murders of journalists since 2007. The groups was believed to have targeted Waeys for adopting an independent character. She presents TV programmes without wearing the veil.
"Al-Shabaab", a reminant of the deposed Islamist regime that controlled large parts of Somalia until December 2006, was named a "press freedom predator" by the Paris-based Reporters sans frontières (RSF) on World Press Freedom Day last week.
"A terrible tragedy has been narrowly avoided in this country, which was in 2007, the deadliest for journalists in Africa. Bisharo Mohammed Waeys's forced descent into life under guard symbolises a serious step backwards for Somalia since the outbreak of war between the transitional government and Islamic insurgents," RSF said in its reaction to the attempted murder.
"The Puntland authorities must take into consideration the disgrace that this represents and protect this journalist in every possible way," the press freedom organisation added.
At least eight journalists were killed in Somalia in 2007, the highest in Africa.
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