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September 21, 2012

4 Journalists Killed in Somalia in 24 Hours

by Mohammed Yusuf

A Mogadishu radio station program producer has became the fourth Somali journalist killed in less than 24 hours.  Despite relative peace and normalcy returning to the streets of Mogadishu, the death underscores the constant threat against journalists working in the war-torn country.  At least 13 Somali journalists have been killed this year.

Veteran journalist Hassan Yusuf Absuge is the latest journalist to be killed in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.  Witnesses say unidentified gunmen killed the Radio Manta producer Friday morning as he left the radio station in Yaqshid district after the night shift.

The National Union of Somali Journalists has condemned the killings.

National Union Secretary-General Mohamed Ibrahim said it’s not clear why and who is targeting journalists but one thing for certain is that they are being killed in areas under government control.

“There are several militia gangs; you know al-Shabab used to target journalists, as well as freelance militias and gangs who are targeting journalists in Mogadishu.  So far we don’t know who is exactly behind the killing of this journalist," said Ibrahim.

This killing came less than 24 hours after another three journalists were killed among 15 people killed in a suicide bomb attack on a restaurant in the Somali capital.

Ibrahim notes that in less than five months, the number of radio and television stations in Mogadishu has increased from 11 to 30 and more exiled journalists are returning.

“More journalists have been returning to Mogadishu because of relative security gains since last year and journalists are serving the public.  So these groups who are targeting the journalists are targeting the journalists because they want to stop the independent voice as well us to stop journalists in informing the public," he said.

Abdisatar Daher Sabriye, head of news for the government's Radio Mogadishu, was one of those killed in the suicide attack in Mogadishu late Thursday.  He was also one of the dozens of journalists who recently returned to Mogadishu after years in exile.