Reporters Without Borders calls on the Somali authorities, African Union and international community to quickly make every effort to end the wave of targeted killings and attacks that is decimating Somalia's journalists. An entire profession is in the process of being wiped out with nothing being done to protect it.
Thirteen journalists have been killed since the start of the year – five of them in the past six days, which will go down as one of the darkest weeks in the history of freedom of information in this country.
The latest victim is Hassan Yusuf Absuge, a well-known journalist who was gunned down early this morning after leaving Radio Mantaa, a recently-created independent radio station where he worked as programme chief.
Agence France-Presse quoted fellow-journalists as saying he had just completed the night shift, covering the previous day's suicide bombing in a Mogadishu restaurant that killed more than 10 people including three journalists. His killers quickly left after shooting him and have not been identified.
A Mogadishu-based journalist told AFP: "This is a disaster, another journalist shot dead while we were burying three of our colleagues killed in the suicide attack yesterday. It is a campaign to cleanse the free press."
At least five journalists were injured in yesterday's suicide bombing, in addition to the three journalists killed. Reporters Without Borders already named four of the wounded journalists. The fifth is Mohamed Ibrahim Abdulle Biibaaye of Somali National TV. The toll is still provisional.
20.09.2012 - 2012 - deadliest year ever for Somali media
A suicide-bombing at a Mogadishu restaurant frequented by media personnel took the lives of at least three journalists today, bringing the number of journalists killed this year in Somalia to 12 and making 2012 "the deadliest year ever for the Somali media," Reporters Without Borders said.
With nine fatalities, 2009 had until now held the Somali "record" for the most journalists killed in a single year.
Many journalists were in The Village restaurant, located near Mogadishu's National Theatre, when two suicide bombers walked in at around 5:30 p.m. and set off their explosives, killing a still undetermined number of civilians, including the three journalists, and injuring many others.
The bombing on the restaurant, known as a meeting place for journalists, was claimed by the Islamist militia Al-Shabaab, which said it had deliberately targeted the media.
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) identified the journalists killed in the bombing as:
- Liban Ali Nur of Somali National TV
- Abdisatar Daher Sabriye of Radio Mogadishu
- Abdirahman Yasin Ali of Radio Hamar (Voice of Democracy)
At least four other journalists were injured:
- Mohamed Hussein of Somali National TV
- Abdullahi Mohamed Ali Suldan of Radio Kulmiye
- Abdirisaq Farah Mohamed Shine of Radio Kulmiye
- Nure Mohamed Ali of Radio Kulmiye
The toll is provisional.
Photo : from left to right, Abdirahman Yasin Ali, Liban Ali Nur, et Abdisatar Daher Sabriye