Ethiopian Journalist assaulted, threatened with death

Freelance Ethiopian journalist Lucy Kassa was attacked at her home in Addis Ababa on 8 February by three unidentified armed men.

The men in plain clothes threatened to kill her for her performing her job. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the attack and demands the government take immediate steps to ensure her safety.

Kassa has worked for various international media organizations including Los Angeles TimesAl Jazeera and the Norwegian magazine “Bistandsaktuelt”  for several years.

Kassa has reported extensively on the human rights situation in Tigray region since the armed conflict broke out between the Ethiopian government and the local authorities in November.

On 8 February, 3 attackers in plain clothes entered Kassa’s home, physically assaulted her and threatened to kill her “for writing bad stories about Tigray”.  Her computer and some photos were also stolen by the attackers.

The attack occurred at the time the journalist was working on a story for the Los Angeles Times about a woman who was gang-raped by Eritrean soldiers and other women being abducted in a rural village in Tigray. The story was published yesterday. 

Kassa claims she was attacked because of her reporting on the war in Tigray. She has been criticised for being too critical of both the Abiy Government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). 

I was interrogated by the armed men on my relationship with the TPLF junta and I told them that I have nothing to do with the TPLF,” she told Bistandsaktuelt.

The International Federation of Journalists urges the Abiy government to provide Lucy Kassa with all the safety measures she needs to carry out her duties as a journalist.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger, said: “The attack on Lucy Kassa is a cowardly and deliberate attack on freedom of expression. The only intention of the attackers is to silence Lucy, so that she will not report on the horrendous atrocities that are being committed in Tigray by both government forces and the TPLF. Journalists must be allowed to do their jobs without any form of intimidation and harassment”.

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