Last Monday will go down as one of the most perilous days for journalists as more countries started vying for the noxious title of the most dangerous country in the world for journalists.
In Yemen, after months of stand off between its president and opposition forces, one of the main tribal army start attacking government buildings bringing the country close to civil war. The armed group also decided to attack the offices of SABA news agency where 50 journalists were trapped for more than 12 hours, using machine guns and artillery. It was a miracle that none of them died but two journalists, Farouk Al Kamali and Ahmad Mutawakkil were injured.
At around the same time, AK-47 armed gunmen raided the office of our member union in Mogadishu in Somalia and occupied their office. They disarmed the security guard, took documents and computers and warned officials of the union that they will be killed if they continued working for the union.
Several thousands miles south in Kampala, Ugandan police armed to the teeth stormed the offices of Gwanga newspapers in a military-style operation and arrested managing director Kizito Sserumaga, news editor Alex Lubwama, and administrative staff. The reason given is that they were looking for documents linked to the recent disturbances. Police Commander, Siraje Bakaleke, later said that they had found anonymous letters and copies of publications “urging people to overthrow the government”.
The gloves are off. It now looks more like open warfare on journalists has been declared.