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Cablegate: Somalia - Media Reaction to Suicide Bombing

VZCZCXRO7606
OO RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #2456 3381134
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 041134Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1709
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA
RUZEFAA/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUZEFAA/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHMCSUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS NAIROBI 002456

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM KPAO SO
SUBJECT: SOMALIA - Media Reaction to Suicide Bombing

REF: NAIROBI 2444

-------
Summary
-------

1. (U) Somali media outlets have uniformly expressed revulsion at
the December 3 suicide bombing in Mogadishu that took the lives of
three TFG ministers, seriously injured a fourth, and killed more
than a dozen others attending a medical school graduation. Some of
the Media are suggesting that the extremists' attack on the students
and their families was perhaps a step too far. Post continues to
underscore U.S. government outrage at the attack in its contacts
with the Somali media. End summary.

--------------------
Uniform Disgust,
Varying Focal Points
--------------------

2. (U) Most Somali media reaction to the December 3 suicide blast in
Mogadishu has focused on the deaths of the three Transitional
Federal Government (TFG) ministers. BBC's Somali Service noted that
the three assassinated ministers were prominent and in frequent
contact with the Somalia public. Many reports noted that the
ministers were well-respected and were accomplishing much good work
on the ground. Some reports faulted the TFG for failing to secure
the venue of the graduation, given that such a high concentration of
senior government officials was present. Other reports noted that
the attack was a shock to the country's beleaguered educational
system, as two of the ministers were veteran educationists who
represented the future of education in Somalia.

3. (U) Another area of focus was on the students, for whom the
graduation ceremony was being held. BBC's Somali Service noted that
this event honored students who had managed to persevere through
years of conflict to complete their studies, only to die on their
happiest day. Virtually all outlets noted the sad irony: that
these youth were killed as they were preparing to begin their
careers as doctors in a country desperately short of medical
professionals.

4. (U) Somali journalists have focused on the loss of at least two
of their colleagues in the blast. Somali journalist organizations
including the Somali Coalition for Freedom of Expression (SOCFEX),
the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), and the Somali
Journalists Rights Agency (SOJRA) have issued press statements
lamenting the deaths of the journalists who died in the attack. In
addition, many international journalist organizations, to include
the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International
Federation of Journalists (IFJ), both of which have relationships
with the Somali journalist unions, issued statements condemning the
attack and highlighting the loss of the journalists.

5. (U) VOA's Somali Service interviewed a well-known Somali-American
religious elder who condemned the bombing and stated that it went
against the basic teachings of Islam. Most outlets have carried the
various international statements issued after the bombing, as well
as TFG President Sharif's statement and the Prime Minister's
comments to the media.

--------------
Post's Outreach
to Somali Media
--------------

6. (U) On December 3, the Embassy joined the EU, AMISOM, IGAD, the
League of Arab States, Norway, and the UN, in issuing a statement
that condemned the attacks. We have also done an interview on a
Somali radio station, and will continue to conduct interviews in the
coming days. There is a high level of interest among Somalis in the
international community's reaction to this event.

RANNEBERGER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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