Refugee journalists recount horrors of working in Somalia

September 6, 2016 2:15 pm
According to Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 59 journalists were killed in Somalia between 2009 and 2016/MUTHONI NJUKI
According to Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 59 journalists were killed in Somalia between 2009 and 2016/MUTHONI NJUKI

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 6 – They were the worst moments of his life but moments he has lived to treasure after a narrow escape from members of the Al Shabaab terror group in Somalia.

Abdi Fatah Mohammed is a Somali journalist living in Nairobi as a refugee after he was rescued from terrorists who had captured him while shooting a documentary at an Internally Displaced Persons camp in Mogadishu.

It was a tragedy that befell him on August 23, 2008.

Though years have passed by and the physical wounds meted on him have partially eroded, Mohammed freshly recounts every moment of the torture and humiliation at the hands of terrorists.

He was captured by Al Shabaab terrorists together with his four colleagues.

“The people at the camp were facing a lot of difficulties and we needed to show the world how they were suffering. We were not doing anything wrong to the religion or even to the country.”

“But they kidnapped us. They tortured us. They were doing everything wrong to the Islamic religion. I was Muslim and I am still Muslim, I was their brother but they were beating me every night. They allowed us to go to the toilet only four times a day. Even when you have a stomach problem, they did not allow us to go to the toilet – only those four times,” Mohammed recounted.

His darkest day – the day he thought he would kiss the world goodbye was when a sweeper outside a room they had been locked in saw them peep through a window.

“They (captors) were changing houses. They told us not to open the window. When they went out, we tried to open the window to see if we could get someone to tell we had been kidnapped.”

“I looked through the window then the lady saw my face.”

The lady was actually spying on them. She reported them.

The captors rushed back to the room. That’s the night they faced the wrath of their captors.

They were blind folded, banged against metal doors and threatened with guns.

“After being blindfolded, we had to raise our hand so that our captors would grab it to show you directions of where to go next. I kept my hands raised for over 10 minutes but no one held it. I was wondering what was happening.”

“Then someone grabbed my hand very hard and ran with me very fast. Since you are blind folded, you don’t know where you are running to. There are two doors near each other, one is open and the other is closed, once you run you hit the closed door, if you don’t then they know you can see.”

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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