Sunday, September 4, 2011

NGO responsible for Bernama man’s death, says kin

NGO responsible for Bernama man’s death, says kin

September 04, 2011
Malaysian Insider

Noramfaizul’s uncle Abu Bakar Md Yasin says the Putera 1 Malaysia Club should have done prior intelligence on Somalia. — Foto by Boo Su-Lyn
SUBANG, Sept 4 — As Malaysians mourn the killing of a local journalist in Somalia, Noramfaizul Mohd Nor’s relatives want the non-governmental Putera 1 Malaysia Club to be held responsible for his death.

The club — which is headed by Umno supreme council member Datuk Abdul Azeez Rahim — organised a humanitarian mission to the war-torn country that led to the Bernama TV cameraman’s death last Friday.

“They (Putera 1 Malaysia Club) are the ones who organised (the mission). They cannot lepas tangan (evade responsibility),” Noramfaizul’s uncle Abu Bakar Md Yasin told The Malaysian Insider at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base here today.

“They should have done prior intelligence. Don’t just barge in. This is a foreign country,” added the 64-year-old retired civil servant from the Defence Ministry.

International media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) rank Somalia as the deadliest country in Africa for media personnel, with 23 media workers killed since 2007.

The famine-stricken country has not had a functioning government for more than 20 years.

Noramfaizul was killed in the Somali capital of Mogadishu when African Union peacekeepers allegedly shot at a truck in which six mission members, including the 39-year-old, were travelling.

The cameraman — who worked in national news agency Bernama for 11 years — leaves behind a wife, Norazrina Jaafar, and two sons aged eight and three years.

Norazrina wept when her husband’s body was brought down from RMAF’s C-130 aircraft here today, as hundreds gathered on the tarmac under the gentle morning sun.

Noramfaizul’s other uncle, Md Tahir Md Yasin, said his nephew’s death could have been avoided.

“They should wear bulletproof vests. It’s not a stable country,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

The 69-year-old retired teacher said Bernama should also be held accountable for Noramfaizul’s death, besides the Putera 1 Malaysia Club.

Mary Francis, the mother of a psychologist who was part of the mission team, echoed Tahir’s remarks, saying: “They don’t have bulletproof vests. This is important in a war-torn country.”

Mary Francis, the mother of a psychologist who was part of the mission team, says the mission team wore bulletproof vests after Noramfaizul was shot dead. — Foto by Boo Su-Lyn

She pointed out that the team wore bulletproof vests when Noramfaizul’s body was taken back. “It’s too late...he would have been protected if he had a vest,” she said.

The 54-year-old housewife, who was weeping as she spoke, also said the mission team should have been given full training.

Deputy Information, Communication and Culture Minister Senator Datuk Maglin Dennis D’Cruz similarly stressed that the journalists should have received better protection and training.

“Provide bulletproof jackets, cars...should have given them more army security,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

“They should have some training in war zones. First-timers shouldn’t be sent,” added the senator.

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