South Africa’s governing party the African National Congress (ANC) has joined the growing voices condemning the murder of veteran Al Jazeera Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Akleh (also spelt Aqla, Aqleh) was shot in the head on Wednesday while on assignment covering Israeli raids on Jenin in the occupied West Bank.
Another Al Jazeera journalist, Ali Samoudi, was also wounded after being shot in the back.
Earlier this week, South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation issued a statement saying it “condemns in the strongest possible terms the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh allegedly by the Israeli Defence Force”.
On Friday, the party of Nelson Mandela said: “The ANC and the People of South Africa condemn in the strongest terms the brutal killing of Al Jazeera Journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on the 11th of May 2022, while covering an Israeli military operation in Jenna, West Bank.”
In a lengthy statement issued by Lindiwe Zulu Chairperson: International Relations Sub-Committee, the party said: “The ANC conveys its condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the slain journalist and the Palestinian people”.
The statement further said: “Her death at the hands of the Israeli military forces, has robbed the world and the Palestinian people of yet another voice.
“A renowned journalist who accurately reported on the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory and the atrocities perpetually inflicted daily basis by the Apartheid Israelis on the Palestinian, including vulnerable women and children.
“As a liberation movement and a peace-loving party, the ANC continues to pledge its solidarity with the people of Palestine and on this occasion once again registers a call for an end of these brutal killings and the suppression of Press Freedom.”
In the statement, the ANC demands the implementation of the UN Resolutions in relation to the Israeli/Palestine conflict that has claimed so many lives including innocent children and women.
“The ANC supports the United Nations call for an independent investigation into the death of Shireen Abu Akleh and that those responsible be held accountable for her brutal killing and the silencing of Press Freedom,” said the statement.
“Her death shall not be in vain. Her legacy shall live on and unite progressive forces of the world to accelerate their efforts in support of the Palestinian people.”
Akleh’s employer, Al Jazeera MediaNetwork, condemned the “blatant murder” and said: “We hold the Israeli government and the occupation forces responsible for the killing of the late colleague Shireen.”
However, the South African Zionist Federation said “initial investigations indicate” Akleh “appears to have been hit by Palestinian gunfire”.
Mourned the world over, the 51-year-old veteran journalist, Akleh, will be laid to rest Friday.