An important leader in Somalia’s independent trade union movement, Omar Faruk, closely escaped gunshots from three hit men outside the FESTU union office in Mogadishu on 29 December.
IndustriALL Global Union joins the ITUC in denouncing the attempted murder and in calling for action from the Somali government to stop the intimidation and take all appropriate measures to prevent further attacks on trade unionists in the country.
Omar Faruk Osman is General Secretary of the ITUC-affiliated Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU). FESTU is the first independent and democratic trade union centre in the country.
The FESTU General Secretary was entering the union’s office when three armed men sprayed his car with bullets on Taleex Street. It is only by good fortune that Omar Faruk escaped death, but one of his bodyguards and two pedestrians were seriously wounded.
It is well known that Omar Faruk has been threatened many times by some radical groups and other members of the Somalian government because of his commitment to build a strong and independent union in his country. This assassination attempt can also be linked to Omar Faruk’ s recent position denouncing a controversial media law passed by the Somalia parliament which is described as a threat to media freedom in the country.
In a public statement, FESTU president Ahmed Osman said:
“FESTU is here to stay and no amount of attacks and attempts on the lives of our leaders will stop us from fulfilling our historic mission, which is to liberate workers from exploitation, oppression and subjugation.”
IndustriALL has reported in the past of intimidation, threats and bombs against FESTU and its efforts to organize workers.