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Western Cameraman Killed Filming Rally in Somalia


A Western cameraman was shot dead Friday in Somalia's capital as he was filming a rally there.

Media reports indicate that the cameraman, Martin Adler, was a Swedish citizen who frequently worked for the British television station Channel 4.

The cameraman was filming a rally in Mogadishu when the incident occurred.

Mohamed Dare, an editor at the news agency Horn Afrik who was standing near the cameraman, described to VOA what happened.

"The cameraman Martin was standing near to where the leaders of the Islamic courts were sitting," he said. "It was a heavily guarded place. Islamic militants surrounded there. Then the cameraman was taking photographs of the people, and the people were in front of him. Then, the cameraman ran and laid on the ground. We have seen blood. He was shot on the back. He laid on the ground for at least 10 minutes bleeding."

Dare says Islamic militants then rushed the cameraman to hospital, but he died along the way.

It is unclear who shot the Swedish cameraman and why.

Dare says the Union of Islamic Courts was quick to condemn the shooting.

"Islamic courts [chairman] Sheikh Sharif spoke to the local media," he said. "He said we are so sorry that the killing was behind people who don't want peace in Mogadishu and who want to bother the Islamists here in Mogadishu, he said."

The killing took place one day after the Union of Islamic courts and Somalia's transitional government signed a peace agreement in Sudan to put in place a cease-fire.

More than 350 people were killed and more than a 1,000 wounded during fighting that took place over the past few months between militias loyal to the Union of Islamic Courts and militias and warlords of the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism.

The Union of Islamic Courts eventually defeated the counterterrorism alliance. At the beginning of June, the Islamic courts took control of the capital Mogadishu and then Jowhar, a town that was once the temporary capital of Somalia's transitional government.

This is the second Western media killing in Mogadishu in recent times. In February last year, an unidentified gunman shot dead a producer with the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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