RSF ‘deplores’ death of Kurdish journalist Nujiyan Erhan as she is laid to rest

Journalist Nujiyan Erhan on the shoulders of Kurdish and Yazidi women being taken to her final resting place, 25 March 2017, (Photo: ANF)

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has released a statement on the death of Kurdish journalist Nujiyan Erhan, who passed away on Wednesday after being shot during clashes in Shingal.

“Reporters without Borders deplores the death of Turkish Kurdish journalist Nuzhian Arhan, a correspondent for the women’s news site Sujin and the pro-PKK media RojNews, who died on 22 March after covering clashes in the town of Sinjar, in northern Iraqi Kurdistan.”

The statement said the 30-year-old journalist, real name Tuba Akyilmaz, was seriously injured after being shot in the head by sniper fire.

“The journalist covered the events at Sinjar [Shingal], and the resistance of the Yezidis. According to the feminist information site, the sniper shooting came from the armed forces affiliated to the PDK [Kurdistan Democratic Party]. Two other journalists of the Kurdish channel Cira TV were injured that day.”

The RSF’s Middle East head, Alexandra El Khazen said, “While the record of journalists killed in Iraq in the coverage of the fighting is mounting, we are calling on Iraqi forces to ensure the safety of journalists who risk their lives to cover the clashes in Iraq. The latter must under no circumstances end up on the front line or on land that can be mined.”

Erhan became the second journalist killed in Iraq since the beginning of 2017 after the death of Kurdish journalist Shifa Zikri Ibrahim (Shifa Gardi). Gardi died in an explosion in the west of Mosul as she was conducting an interview for Rudaw TV.

Erhan’s body arrived in Shingal from Syria’s Hasakah, where she was being treated in hospital, to be buried today. People lined the streets to greet the journalist’s funeral car, according to Roj News.

The journalist had covered the plight of the Yazidi community following the Islamic State (IS) onslaught on the area in August 2014. Tributes continued pouring in from Kurdish organisations and fellow journalists on Saturday.

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Peshmerga Command has not made a statement regarding the shooting of the Kurdish journalist and whether an investigation has been launched into the incident.