Somalia: Journalist beaten and threatened by companies competing for EU funded Road project
GAROWE, Puntland- A local reporter for Horseemedia online was physically assaulted and threatened by owners of construction companies competing for the “Sustainable Road Maintenance Project” for Galkaiyo-Garowe corridor funded by EU, Garowe Online reports.
Omar Saed Mohamed aka “Omar Dhere” was among other local reporters, who exposed bidding malpractices for projects implemented in Puntland state, attributed to covert ties and deals between Puntland Tender Committee and several construction companies.
Omar Dhere told GO that the owners of Al Bashit construction company, Abdirahman aka “John Yardi” and IL Gaar construction company, Gaar Yasin have threatened him for publishing the report.
“On Monday November 28, and in the afternoon, near Garowe’s football stadium, I was violently attacked by businessman John Yardi,” said Omar Dhere.
“He was driving his car when he passed me, accompanied by another man who I don’t recognize, he suddenly returned back, called my name and got out of the car. He threatened to kill me and then punched me in the face,” added Omar Dhere.
Consequently, after 20 minutes Omar Dhere received a call from the owner of IL Gaar company Yasin and threatened him to shoot him with 7 bullets.
“I received a call from the number 0907794696, he is the owner of IL Gaar company, he asked my whereabouts and said he will shoot me with “7 bullets” and will send assailants to kill me.”
He said that both owners got furious after Horseedmedia released a video report exposing systemic corruption of project contracts between Puntland Tender Committee and local contractors. “I don’t know the reason why they attacked and threaten to kill me,” said Omar Dhere.
The incident coincides with ongoing investigation by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the implementing agency for the Sustainable Road Maintenance project. GIZ announced recently it will re-evaluate the entire bidding process following allegation of fraud and corruption in the tender process.
Omar Dhere, a local journalist who worked for various press agencies over 15 years, has giving a notice to the Police authority and Media Union in Puntland state that his life is in danger following attacks.
Somalia is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media workers, as they are targeted by both Islamic extremists and the government.
Editors and reporters at Garowe Online condemn in the strongest terms possible the assault on journalist Omar Dhere and call Puntland authority to probe the incident urgently and take serious actions against aggressors who violate press freedom rights. We also urge MAP to take measures to prevent such incidents against journalists in Puntland.