Assailants of deceased driver, injured journalists remain at large
Following the attack and subsequent passing away of Suleiman Ahmed – the driver of a team of journalists from Dire Dawa City Mass Media Agency – who was badly attacked by a mob of assailants, police investigations are yet to be conducted and suspects have not been arrested so far.
The attack by a group of youth in Meisso, Oromia Region, took place on Friday July 13, 2018, which led to the passing away of Suleiman on July 19, 2018.
The mob attacked a group of journalists who were traveling to Addis Ababa for the coverage of President Isaias Afewerki’s visit to Addis Ababa, which was scheduled for the following day.
Five of the crew members – all of them employees of Dire Dawa Mass Media Agency – who were attacked include: one cameraman, Amin Sherrif, a producer Amero Tesfaye, reporters Biftu Yesuf and Mussie Umer and their driver Suleiman.
According to reports, the attackers accused the journalists of spying and attacked them before they handed them over to the police.
The police in turn held no one accountable. Suleiman, 37, was a father of three who was expecting his fourth child. He has been serving in the Agency for more than five years.
Although Suleiman has been under medical care both at Dil Chora Hospital in Dire Dawa and Hiwot Fana Hospital in Harar, the injuries sustained on his head and ribs made it difficult to save his life, sources told The Reporter. He died at eleven in the morning of Thursday, July 19, 2018.
The police, both Oromia Regional State and at wereda level are yet to start investigating the attack, The Reporter has learnt. In addition, there was no one held accountable by the police so far.
“We heard about the attack and we are still gathering information,” Binyam Abte, acting director of Ethiopian Human Rights Council told The Reporter. He condemned the attack.
The colleagues of the journalists expressed their anger over what they called a reluctance of both the regional and federal government to issue an investigation over the matter. In a brief meeting with the board of Dire Dawa Mass Media Agency, the employees of the Agency call for a rapid solution.
“We have informed both federal police and the national defense which are deployed in the area to address the issue,” Ibrahim Usman, mayor of Dire Dawa City, said.