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Amid UN Somalia Scam, Kay Cites Puntland Not Jubaland, Press Intimidation

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 7 -- On the day the UN belatedly admitted, if only to a friendly scribe, to Inner City Press' exclusive June 22 report on the UN's role in sharing genetic information from Somalia with the US FBI, the UN answered the previous day's Press questions on Puntland and journalists' safety.

  But the UN has still not commented on Jubaland's Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Madobe)'s critique of the government in Mogadishu, delivered at the Kismayo airport, or even disclosed which private military contractor it uses for armed guards.

On August 6, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: In Somalia, there’s been a pretty high-profile announcement by Puntland that they are severing all relations with the central or federal Government. They say that they violated the power sharing in the Constitution. So since there’s UNSOM [United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia] there, I’m wondering, do they have any response, or are they going to try to put things back on track? And there’s been two incidents with journalists, one being a journalist, Mascud Abdulahi Adan, was blocked in the Mogadishu airport from going to get surgery on a bullet in him, in Kenya, and given the [UNSC] debate and what the Secretary-General said, I’m wondering if the Mission or the Secretary-General was aware of that. And also, a journalist was attempted to be assassinated in Kismayo, Abdikhadar Iman Dhaqane. It seems like a lot of things are taking place there, and I’m wondering what the Mission and Mr. Nicholas Kay have to say about them.

Spokesperson Nesirky: I’ll check.

  And at 11:30 am the next day, half an hour before reading it out at the day's noon briefing, Nesirky's office e-mailed the following responses which we therefore publish in full:

Subject: your questions on Somalia
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Wed, Aug 7, 2013 at 11:30 AM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Concerning your question on Puntland, we have the following from UNSOM: “SRSG Kay is aware of reports that Puntland's leadership has unilaterally decided to sever ties with the Federal Government of Somalia over a number of concerns including interpretation of constitutional provisions and implementation of federal arrangements. He will use his good offices to continue dialogue with both the Federal Government and the political leadership of Puntland as they seek mutual understanding on these and other key issues."

Regarding the evacuation of the injured journalist who was shot in Kismayo, UNSOM as the following information: "The journalist was evacuated to Nairobi hospital for surgical treatment on Monday 5 August after the National Union of Journalists (NUSOJ) obtained clearance from the Ministry of Information for his travel. UNSOM will follow up with NUSOJ on the condition of the journalist and to better understand why a journalist working with a non-government owned radio station (Radio Dalsan) would need a letter from the Ministry for emergency medical evacuation."

On the attack on a journalist also in Kismayo: as with all similar cases, attacks against journalists are unacceptable and journalists should be able to carry out their work free of intimidation.

This last is a nice statement. While smaller, but inside the UN's own headquarters, consider this UN communication to Inner City Press, about merely hanging the sign on the door of its shared office of the Free UN Coalition for Access, which works on the defense of journalists, in Somaliland, Somalia, in the UN and elsewhere (On August 5, 6 and so far on August 7, the below have not responded to basic press access questions raised) --

Subject: signs on the door
From: Hua Jiang [at]
Date: Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 3:52 PM
To: Inner City Press
Cc: Stephane Dujarric [at], Isabelle Broyer [at]

Dear Matthew,

We have taken note that you have not until now remove the signs on your office door as per the United Nations Guidelines on Media Access, despite repeated requests communicated to you by emails and verbally by DPI officials.

We reserve the right to take actions according to the Guidelines which stipulate that those violate the rules may have their accreditation withdrawn or suspended.


Hua Jiang
Chief, Press Service, UN DPI

  Of the two individuals cc-ed, the first received and even solicited, including to his private non-UN email address, stealth requests to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN from Louis Charbonneau of Reuters, Agence France Presse,Voice of America and others. 

  The second led a non-consensual raid of Inner City Press' office on March 18, 2013, took photos of the Press' desk and bookshelf and shared them beyond DPI (they laterappeared in BuzzFeed, leaked by a “Concerned UN Reporter” account after BuzzFeed called Ban's spokesman for comment on the raid.)

We'll have more on this. Watch this site.


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