Targeted Killing of Journalists Continues to Thrive in Somalia

By Betre Yacob.


The wave of targeted killings and attacks against journalists in Somalia has continued in 2013 to be most shocking and Concerning, as the new government has consistently failed to effectively investigate the violations and bring the assailants responsible to justice. Only in the first 3 months of the year the country lost three additional journalists, and the number of Those killed since 2012 has reached 21, making the country the most dangerous ground in the globe for journalists and media workers. 

The veteran journalist, Abdihared Osman Aden , a producer ofShabelle Media Network -the leading news network in Somalia, was the first media professional to Have Been Killed in 2013. He was brutally shot dead by unknown gunmen on January 18 while he was going to work. 

According to news reports, he was shot several times in the head, neck, and lower parts of His body. Abdihared was one of the few outstanding journalists who could publicly criticize the ruling government in Somalia. He was the fifth journalist of Shabelle Media Network to Have Been Killed. Nuxurkey Mohamed Ali , 29, a journalist for Radio Mustaqbal , also was killed a month later on 18 March in a suicide car bombing That wound two other journalists. Rahma Abdulkadir was the first woman and third media professional to Have Been Killed in this year. She was reportedly shot and killed by unknown armed men on 24 March.

Somalia, a country ravaged by conflict, has never been safe place for independent journalists since the downfall of the regime of Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991. However, targeted killings against them have become persistent since 2007, after the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab militants were totally removed from the capital, Mogadishu . 

According to the data Obtained from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) , the leading press advocacy group, 44 radio, print, television, and web journalists were killed from 2007 to 2012 only. Also many more were wounded, kidnapped, arrested, and threatened. 2012 was the deadliest year for Somali journalists. On CPJ’s annual Impunity Index, Which spotlights countries where journalists are frequently murdered, the number of murder cases recorded in That year has made ​​the country the world’s second deadliest country for the media, next to Syria.


Impunity is the major problem in Somalia. Including the French National Journalists Union (SNJ) , many argue That the causes of this dangerous environment Which made ​​the country as one of the most dangerous places for media professionals in the world is the impunity granted to the killers. 

Reports indicated that none of the killers has so far been identified and brought to justice. “No crime committed against a journalist Has Been properly investigated,” said the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) in its latest report. “The only single exception Has Been the admission by the African Union mission (AMISOM) That a Burundian soldier was allegedly responsible for the death of a Malaysian journalist in Mogadishu. “

The deaths of journalists in Somalia were only Generally blamed on Al-Shabab militants and another hard-liner insurgent group named“Hezbul-Islam” – Which is said to have tried to put pressure on local radio stations to ascertain its authority on what goes on air. However, since recent months, the attacks have Appeared to be part of a systematic attempt by all parties to the conflict to discourage reporting on Their activities. 

For instance, Reporters Without Boarders (RWB) , recently said in a report that: “those who kill journalists are not only to be found Within the Islamist Militias, but Also Within the federal government and the regional Governments, where media revelations about corruption and bad governance are resented. ” According to the group, this is one of the Reasons Why the government has done nothing to end impunity. The government, However, unwaveringly denied the allegation, Maintaining That lack of resources and the disastrous state of government institutions are the causes to the impunity.

2012: The Deadliest Year

According to CPJ, 18 journalists were killed in 2012 only five of them-Within a week. Most were assassinated in the capital, Mogadishu, where the security is supposed to be relatively better. A symbolic execution in 2012 was the gunning down of the known producer and webmaster of Radio Shabelle-which is part of the Shabelle Media Network . 

Turyare Mohamed Mohamud was savagely beaten, and shot three times in the stomach while walking to work in Wadair district in Mogadishu. Having Suffered so much from the injuries in a hospital, he died a week later on 28th October 2012. He was the fourth journalist of Shabelle Media Network to Have Been Killed. On the evening of October 29 (a day after) – His friend and colleague, Shire Warsame Awale , a popular journalist working for a Mogadishu-based radio station, was gunned down in the same circumstance. Warsame was known for His genuine criticism against the Al-Shabab militants. His family confirmed that he had been receiving threats as a result of his activities. 

Hassan Osman Abdi , the Director of Shabelle Media Network , was the first journalist to Have Been Killed in 2012. He was shot dead in Mogadishu on 28 January. He was shot five places including on His head and chest by five unknown armed men. According to the data Obtained from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the number of assassinations committed in 2012 are twice the figure of 2009-which Had Been the deadliest year for Somali media with 9 killed.

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