14 November 2023
Journalist Abdoul Aziz Djibrilla of Naata Radio was attacked and killed by unidentified gunmen on 7 November on the Gao- Ansongo road in northern Mali. Two other journalists were kidnapped. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, l’ Union Nationale des Journalistes du Mali (UNAJOM) in condemning this barbaric attack meted out to journalists who pose no danger to anyone.
Abdoul Aziz Djibrilla, a presenter for Naata Radio in Labbezanga was on his way to a training session in Gao with other colleagues when the car was stopped on the road by unidentified gunmen. Djibrilla was killed while journalists, Saleck Ag Jiddou and Moustapha Kone were kidnapped and a third journalist, Harouna Attino, was wounded.
The Gao- Ansongo route is considered to be one of the most dangerous routes in northern Mali, as it is often frequented by fighters of the Islamic State of the Sahel (ISIS) who operate within the region.
Kidnapping of journalists in Mali has become a serious cause for concern. Birama Toure, a reporter from Le Sphnix, an investigative Weekly, has been missing since 2016 while journalists Hamadoun Nialibouly and Moussa Bana Dicko (Radio Dande Haire) were kidnapped in the Mopti region in 2020.
Following the killing of Abdoul Aziz Djibrilla and the kidnapping of Saleck Ag Jiddou and Moustapha Kone, radio stations in the Gao region organised ‘A Day-without-Radio protest’ and deliberately went off air on Wednesday 8 November to protest against the killing and kidnapping of their colleagues.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger warned that the warring factions in Mali and the militias, like in all troubled spots in Africa, pose a serious threat to journalists and media workers. "We are extremely saddened by the death of Abdoul Aziz Djibrilla and demand the immediate release of Saleck Ag Jiddou and Moustapha Kone . We call for a swift investigation into these unacceptable acts. Government security officers, and militia factions must understand that journalists pose no threat to them and should be allowed to do their work without any form of intimidation or harassment. Government security officers or members of the militias who perpetrated crimes against journalists must be held accountable for their actions and be brought to justice."
The IFJ joins UNAJOM in extending its sincere condolences to the family of journalist Abdoul Aziz Djibrilla.
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