Somalia Journos’ Kidnapping: Inside Job?
Two months ago two foreign journalists and their Somali colleagues were abducted while reporting on refugees outside Mogadishu. Aussie Nigel Brennan and Canadian Amanda Lindhout and as many as three Somalis were grabbed on the heavily traveled Afgooye Road, apparently under the noses of Ethiopian troops. My friend Mohamed Omar Hussein, a reporter in Mogadishu, relayed rumors that the grab was an inside job â€” that the journosâ€™ bodyguards, provided by the popular Shamo Hotel, perhaps were behind the crime.
It was a shocking rumor, not least because I know the hotelâ€™s owner and staff quite well. Manager Ajoos Sanura was my main fixer in Mogadishu late last year.
But the rumor persists, and no one at the Shamo has responded to my desperate pleas for a denial. Now Somali news Website RealGedo is claiming that the weapons and vehicle used in the abduction indeed have been connected to the Shamo. Hussein provided this translation:
RealGedo has come to known who are the kidnappers of two freelance journalists who were abducted on August while traveling between Mogadishu and Afgoi [sic] to cover the life status of the internal displaced people. RealGedo confirmed that some individuals working for Shamo hotel are behind the abduction of the two journalists.
RealGedo has no business to do with the clan of the kidnappers, but it is there to submit the real fact. What we can also assure is that the landcrusier which these two journalists were traveling in belongs to the brother of the Hotel owner Mr. Shamo. The guns [with] which these two freelance journalists were abducted also belong to the legal owner of the Hotel Mr. Shamo.
On a side note, I want to publicly thank Mohamed Omar Hussein for his generous assistance reporting the abduction story. Heâ€™s a good friend and a fine and brave reporter. Husseinâ€™s brother tragically was killed by a mortar attack during the recent spike in fighting in Mogadishu, one of some 10,000 Somalis to die since the Ethiopian invasion in 2006. Iâ€™m raising money to help the family. Any donations to my personal Website over the next month I will send directly to Hussein via wire transfer. If youâ€™ve benefited from our Somalia coverage, please consider donating.