The New York-based international Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday accused the UN special envoy for Somalia Ahmedou-Ould Abdallah of making irresponsible statements against Somali media workers.
The accusations followed the February 2, 2009, roadside bomb attack on a vehicle carrying Ugandan soldiers of the African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in which at least one soldier was wounded.
Local media and other accounts reported that the troops reacted by firing indiscriminately on civilians in the area, killing at least 13 Somalis many or all of whom were civilians.
AMISOM officials and the UN special representative of the secretary-general for Somalia, Ahmedou-Ould Abdallah, denied that the African Union troops killed any civilians.
In a February 3 interview with the Voice of America, Abdallah said: What happened is to divert attention from what is going on here, and as usual to use the media to repeat Radio Mille Colline, to repeat the genocide in Rwanda.
He also suggested a one-month moratorium on any kind of reporting on the conflict in Somalia.
HRW said the remark essentially compared Somali journalists who reported on the incident to the infamous Radio Mille Collines, which was used to incite participation in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, was disturbing.
It said many Somali journalists have risked their life.