Gunmen on Saturday shot dead the director of a major Somali radio station
Gunmen on Saturday shot dead the director of a major Somali radio station in front of his home in Mogadishu, colleagues and witnesses said.
Hassan Osman, who headed Radio Shabele
, was stopped by two men as he was entering his gate who then shot him several times, said Mohamed Moalim, a relative who stayed in the area.
“We don’t know who they are, but they shot him mercilessly in the head and shoulders,” he said.
Colleague Adan Yare confirmed the attack.
“Two men armed with pistols shot the director several times and he died on the spot,” he said. “We are very much worried tonight,” he added.
Radio Shabele interrupted its programmes to broadcast several verses from the Koran as an expression of mourning for Osman.
Somalia, which has been devastated by 20 years of civil war, is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.
Media rights campaigners Reporters Without Borders (Reporteurs Sans Frontieres, RSF), reported in December that 25 journalists had been killed there since 2007.
“(Hassan Osman) Abdi is the first journalist to be killed in 2012 in Somalia, Africa’s deadliest country for media personnel,” RSF said in a statement.
“Our thoughts go out to his family and fellow journalists, who are yet again mourning a colleague’s death,” it added.
He was the third director of the network to be killed, the group said, recalling the killing of Bashir Nur Gedi in 2007 and Mukhtar Mohamed Hirabe in 2009.
“Violence against journalists in Somalia is sustained by impunity for those responsible,” said RSF.
“It is quite clear that Abdi was deliberately targeted. We call for a serious and impartial investigation that leads to the identification of his murderers.”
In December a man wearing a military uniform shot dead a journalist working for a local television station in a Mogadishu street.
Two months earlier, a Malaysian cameraman was killed in the city, the site of fierce fighting between Islamist Shebab fighters and the weak transitional government backed by African Union peacekeepers.
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has some 10,000 troops in the Somali capital Mogadishu to protect the fragile Western-backed Somali government.
Ethiopian Prime Minster Meles Zenawi said Friday he would pull troops out of Somalia “as soon as feasible,” admitting for the first time that the country’s troops had crossed into the war-torn country.
Kenya sent in troops and tanks into southern Somalia in October to fight the rebels it accuses of carrying out cross-border raids and kidnappings.