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Stockholm: Skyline International strongly condemns the recent violent attack on journalists in Opu-Nembe, Bayelsa State. Hoodlums armed with dangerous weaponry not only posed a grave threat to the safety of media personnel but also confiscated their cameras, an alarming affront to press freedom.

In a brazen display of disregard for law and order, the assailants defied the presence of law enforcement and targeted journalists who had been on-site to assess the situation. The incident occurred on Monday evening, raising concerns about the safety of media professionals operating in such volatile environments.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun, had responded to the escalating crisis by deploying a specialized team comprising the Police Mobile Force (PMF) and the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit. This action resulted in the apprehension of eight suspects and the recovery of a significant cache of arms. However, the attack on journalists underscores the severity of the situation and the challenges faced by those seeking to report on such incidents.

The journalists who fell victim to the assault include Mr. Joseph Kunde of TVC, along with his cameraman, Mr. Bina Miebi; Mr. Awe Baratuapere of NTA, accompanied by his cameraman, Mr. Ayebakuro Egein; Mrs. Iniyekenime Doctor Bruce of Daar Communications; and Mr. Femi Folaranmi of The Sun. These dedicated professionals had been on assignment, documenting the aftermath of property destruction attributed to youth within the community prior to the Police intervention.

Amidst the pandemonium, the journalists sought refuge in nearby houses, awaiting the arrival of the Police team to ensure their safety. The heroic efforts of the Policemen, led by Unit Commander Mr. Silas, ultimately led to the rescue of several journalists who had been under attack. This incident serves as a grim reminder of the threats that journalists often face while working diligently to provide accurate and essential information to the public.

Skyline International firmly stands against such acts of violence and intimidation targeting the media. The freedom of the press is a cornerstone of any democratic society, and any attempt to suppress or silence journalists is an affront to the values of transparency and accountability.

As an organization committed to upholding the principles of responsible journalism, Skyline International demands a thorough investigation into the incident, with a focus on bringing the perpetrators to justice. Furthermore, the organization urges all relevant authorities to take necessary steps to ensure the safety of journalists operating in conflict-prone areas, enabling them to carry out their vital work without fear of harm or intimidation.