22 June 2011

Suspects arrested in rare journalist murder


Ibrahim Foday
Ibrahim Foday
The Exclusive
A police officer and two others have been arrested as suspects in the stabbing death of journalist Ibrahim Foday of "The Exclusive" newspaper near Freetown, Sierra Leone, say the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Foday was beaten and stabbed on 12 June in the east of the capital while covering clashes between neighbouring villages Kossoh and Grafton over a piece of land, report the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and other IFEX members.

According to CPJ, six people were injured over the course of three days of clashes, which started on 17 June. Foday, a resident of Grafton, was attacked for taking photographs of Kossoh rioters.

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalist (SLAJ) said that prior to his death, Foday had published a series of articles on the dispute, which the Kossoh people reportedly felt were biased against them.

Local police have arrested a Kossoh community leader and a police officer, as well as another suspect, reports CPJ.

"The ability of the police to arrest those responsible and the ability of the courts to convict them hold the key to preventing any recurrence of deadly violence against a journalist, which is fortunately rare in Sierra Leone," said RSF.

SLAJ says this is the first fatal attack on a journalist since 2005, when Harry Yansaneh died after a severe beating by thugs working for a parliamentary representative of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party. His murderers are still at large.

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