IFJ Urges UN Envoy to Help Protect Media after Murder of Leading Journalist in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia, January 31, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the killing of Hassan Osman Abdi, a senior Somali journalist and head of Shabelle Media Network which owns Radio and TV Shabelle, who was gunned down on Saturday at his home in Medina district of Mogadishu.
The Federation has written to UN Special Representative to Somalia, Ambassador Augustine P. Mahiga, urging him to call on the Somali Transitional Federal Government to punish Abdi's killers, help establish an independent investigation into press freedom violations and the government's failure to stop them as well to press the government to initiate a full and open investigation into the involvement of police and government officials in the attacks against journalists and their organisations.
"We understand that Abdi was killed at his home in Madina district, which is situated in an area controlled by the armed forces of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG)," said IFJ President, Jim Boumelha, in his letter to Ambassador Mahiga. "His killers seem to have stalked and assassinated Abdi before walking free and without even being noticed by government forces in the neighborhood."
According to National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), an IFJ affiliate, Abdi was shot dead by armed men who opened fire at him on Saturday evening as he arrived home from work. NUSOJ says the men, travelling in a Sedan car, had followed him to his home.
The union has strongly condemned the killing of Abdi who was also NUSOJ Secretary in its Banadir branch, saying it will heighten the fears among Somali journalists over their safety.
Abdi becomes the first media fatality in Somalia since the start of the year and the second journalist in as many months to die in targeted killings. Abdisalan Sheik Hassan, another prominent Somali journalist, was gunned down in Mogadishu on 18 December 2011.
The IFJ says that these killings need to be independently investigated and failure to fight impunity for violence against journalists will not just add to the country's record as journalists' killing field but also severely hinder efforts to restore democratic rule in the country.
"This monstrous crime is similar to the last unsolved murder of journalist Abdisalan Sheik Hassan of HornCable TV on 18 December 2012 by a man in TFG army uniform, who has so far not being arrested and no investigation has taken place," added Boumelha. "There is ample evidence to prove that this long-running culture of impunity surrounding the deaths and violent assaults on Somali journalists is allowed to fester, making Somalia the most dangerous country for journalists in Africa."