Friday, December 18, 2009

Journalist recounts suicide attacks

Over at the committee to protect journalists,Mohamed Olad Hassan, a reporter for the BBC and The Associated Press, and chairman of the Somali Foreign Correspondents Association, recounts his experience covering a deadly ceremony in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. Olad narrowly escaped death after a suicide bomber killed at least 23 people on December 3 at the graduation ceremony at Hotel Shamo.

Three journalists were killed in the attack and Mohamed recounts a typical graduation scene

Proud parents beamed at their graduating loved ones, who were also sitting in the hall. Journalists, particularly the cameramen, were right in the front for a good view. People were making speeches, and we were taking notes, as usual.

Then,he says all this brightness turned to darkness.

All I remember is being covered in dust. Some debris apparently from the roof of the hall hit me and there was no light anywhere. I looked across and the young guy sitting next to me was dead. The seat he had been sitting on was mine. We had changed positions for one moment, when I had left momentarily to move my recorder nearer to the speakers. That’s when the explosion occurred. It was my luck not to be sitting in that chair.

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