Canadian journalist Ian Stewart, wounded in Sierra Leone, making steady recovery

Thursday, February 4, 1999

Canadian journalist Ian Stewart, wounded in Sierra Leone, making steady recovery

4 February 1999

Abidjan-based Associated Press (AP) West African Bureau Chief Ian Stewart is reported to be making steady progress in a London hospital following two successful operations. Stewart, 32, is recovering in London after undergoing two operations to repair damage caused after being shot in the head and critically wounded when the vehicle he was traveling in through Freetown, Sierra Leone, was sprayed with bullets by a man reported to be a rebel. AP television producer Myles Tierney, 34, of New York City, was killed in the same attack.

At an AP memorial service for Tierney held on 25 January 1999, Thomas J. Kent, AP's international editor, said that Stewart had begun to write short notes and would shortly begin speech therapy, reports AP. Stewart indicated in a note that he wanted to cover the national elections in Nigeria next month. "It's my turf," the injured journalist wrote.

On 4 February, the AP Toronto Bureau reported that Stewart is now mobile to some degree, and is also able to whisper. Doctors now say he is out of danger but is expected to have a long recovery ahead.

BACKGROUND:
On 10 January, Stewart, Miles Tierney and AP photographer David Guttenfelder were driving through downtown Freetown when their station wagon was sprayed with bullets by a man reported to be a rebel. An armed man approached the vehicle and, after an exchange of words with an ECOMOG soldier in the vehicle, opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle. Tierney was shot and killed instantly. Stewart was shot in the head and injured critically. Nairobi-based photographer Guttenfelder suffered minor injuries, receiving cuts from broken window glass when the vehicle was shot at.

The journalists were rushed to a nearby ECOMOG base, and then flown to Conakry, Guinea. From there, Stewart and Guttenfelder were transported to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and Stewart was subsequently airlifted to London, where he underwent two successful operations and is making his recovery.

The information contained in this action alert update is the sole responsibility of CJFE. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit CJFE.

For more news on Sierra Leone, see the Media Release, dated 21 January 1999.