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AP editor released after being held 20 days; news organizations held story

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AP editor released after being held 20 days; news organizations held story 07/26/1994 SOMALIA -- When three armed Somalis kidnapped…

SOMALIA — When three armed Somalis kidnapped an Associated Press editor in mid-June, several news organizations withheld news of the incident.

The captors released Tina Susman, 35, in early July, 20 days after the kidnapping, AP reported.

Susman, news editor of the AP bureau in Johannesburg, South Africa, was reporting on Somalia. As Susman traveled down a main street in Mogadishu with security guards, three Somali gunmen stopped the car and seized Susman, AP reported.

AP International Editor Tom Kent said AP talked with the abductors about Susman’s release and “didn’t want to disturb what were delicate operations” by running news of the kidnapping. It could have endangered her life, he said.

When news organizations called AP to ask about the incident, AP did not deny that the incident occurred but said it would not run news about it, Kent said. Several news organizations “followed our lead” and did not report the incident, he said.

At least 15 news organizations knew about the abduction and did not report it, the New York Times reported.

During the incident, the gunmen also struck AP photographer Sayyid Abdul Azim with the butt of their rifles, AP reported.

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