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July 15, 2009

Reporters Without Borders ‘shock’ over kidnapped French security advisers posing as journalists in Somalia

By Jon Slattery

Press freedom campaign group Reporters Without Borders says it is shocked that two French government security advisers who were abducted in Mogadishu by gunmen had been posing as journalists.

‘Being a journalist is not a cover, it is a profession,’Reporters Without Borders said. ‘We hope these two advisers are freed quickly but we are shocked that they were passing themselves off as journalists. They were on an official mission and had no need of cover. Their behaviour endangers journalists in a region where media personnel are already in danger.”

The two advisers, who had only recently arrived in Mogadishu, had been sent by the French government’s General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) to provide security advice to the transitional government.

Somalia, regarded as Africa’s deadliest country for the news media, was ranked 153rd out of 173 countries in the 2008 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. Kidnappings of journalists and humanitarian aid workers are now common in Somalia.

Five journalists have been killed in Somalia since the start of the year.

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