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After a Malaysian journalist was shot to death while on a mission trip in Mogadishu Friday, the Prime Minister urges the public not to point fingers. “Let’s not play this blame game,” Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (Najib) said Sunday, in a media conference at the Royal Mayasian Air Force base in Subang. “The most important thing for us is to take stock of what has happened.”
The deceased journalist, Noramfaizul Mohd Noor, 39, worked as a cameraman for the Malaysian National News Agency, Bernama. He had a wife and two children. Najib spent time consoling Noramfaizul’s family. According to Bernama, Noramfaizul “was shot while travelling in a four-wheel-drive vehicle with other Malaysian media personnel covering the humanitarian aid mission to Somalia by the Putera 1Malaysia Club.”
Officials said that a clash between the African Union (AU) troops and other gunmen resulted in Noramfaizul’s death. Another reporter was severely wounded. A security official told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that initial reports indicate that AU peacekeepers were responsible for opening fire on the cameraman’s vehicle. Further investigation of the incident is being conducted.
Adbukarim Ali, a security official with the AU-backed government army, reported to Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the shooting occurred at a busy area, which was Kilometer Four, in Mogadishu. “The men were hit by bullets when they were in their car, as they apparently were returning to their hotel,” said Ali.
In an article by Reuters, Muhideen Mohamed, a volunteer with the Malaysians described the deadly scene.“Two bullets hit the journalist, one in the head and another on the shoulder. He died on the spot,” Mohamed said. Mohamed also reported that the second reporter suffered a bullet wound to the arm.
All 54 members of the Putera 1Malaysia Club mission flew back to Subang on board the aircraft carrying the remains of Noramfaizul, reported Bernama. “There’s a limit to what you can prepare for any eventuality,” Najib said. “Isyallah (God willing), we’ll try our level best in the future to prevent such a thing from happening again.” Najib also said, “this deadly shooting is part and parcel of journalism.”
According to the BBC, as the Somalia’s food crisis has intensified. There has been an increase in the number of foreign aid workers and journalists traveling to region to help.
In July, The Washington Post reported that the famine in parts of southern Somalia had already killed tens of thousands of people, mostly children. Humanitarian aid officials described the situation as the “worst humanitarian crisis in the troubled country in two decades.”
On August 30, an article in Bernama said that a group representing the Putera 1Malaysia Club, which included Noramfaizul, had arrived in Mogadishu.Atuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, mission chief and club president, said that their humanitarian work would focus on five areas in Somalia; Magadishu being the first stop.
The mission aimed to distribute 250 tones of food and provide medicine to approximetly 45,000 families.The report by Bernama concluded with the statement that, “Bernama TV reporter Khairulanuar Yahaya and cameraman Noramfaizul Mohd Noor are among the media crew taking part in the mission.”
The BCC said that the crisis in Somalia was “severely aggravated by civil strife.” According to AFP, “Clashes between rival militia groups happen regularly in Mogadishu, a city that has been battered by a bloody insurgency as Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab rebels fight to unseat the Western-backed government.”
Such tumultuous conditions make humanitarian aid missions, like the work of Putera 1Malaysia Club, particularly dangerous. Noramfaizul is not the first individual to be killed while trying to better humanity in Africa.
Media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) rank Somalia as the deadliest country in Africa for media personnel, with 23 media workers killed since 2007.
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