A Somali journalist who had recently decided to return to his home country was shot dead in Mogadishu earlier this week, becoming the eighth journalist to be killed in the conflict-torn nation this year.
Mohamud Ali Keyre, also known as ‘Buneyste’ was reportedly shot in the head, with witnesses and other journalists suggesting that the bullet was shot by a government soldier.
The 23-year-old freelance journalist worked for Horyaalmedia.com news website, and used to work for the Voice of Democracy radio station before fleeing to Kenya after he received death threats.
Keyre had recently decided to return to Somalia, after deciding that the security situation in the capital city had improved sufficiently.
A government official and former journalist, Yusuf Ali Osman was also gunned down in Mogadishu yesterday. Osman worked at the federal transitional government’s ministry of information, posts and telecommunications where he was in charge of media affairs. The former journalist, known as ‘Farey’ worked as the director of Radio Mogadishu in the past.
Continue to decimate journalists with complete impunity
Reporter Without Borders (RSF) has expressed serious concerns about the safety of journalists in Somalia, warning that 2012 is heading towards a record number of deaths and urging government authorities to bring those responsible to justice.
In a statement, RSF said: “At this rate, 2012 could become the deadliest year of the past decade for media personnel in Somalia. The country has already reached the 2007 toll of eight dead and is fast approaching the 2009 record of nine dead.”
"We offer our heartfelt condolences to the entire Somali journalistic community and we urge the authorities to do everything possible to find those responsible and punish them severely. Bringing them to justice could finally deter the media’s enemies from continuing to decimate journalists with complete impunity," the media watchdog added.
African Union special representative to Somalia, Boubacar Diarra said: “There has been a steady rise in assassinations targeting journalists, government officials and businessmen.”
"The Somali authorities must institute investigations into these killings with a view to bringing the perpetrators of these heinous crimes to justice," added Diarra.
UN Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga demanded an end to the "culture of impunity,” and sent condolences to Somali reporters who "for too long have seen their colleagues targeted, injured and assassinated without a single perpetrator being brought to justice."
One journalist killed every month
Earlier this month, unidentified gunmen shot dead a well-known comedian and radio drama performer in Mogadishu.
Abdi Jeylani Malaq Marshale was killed as he left the Kulmiye radio station where he worked. The consistent targeting of journalists in Somalia has seen media workers killed at the rate of one per month this year.
RSF rates Somalia as 164th out of 179 on the World Press Freedom Index, making it the deadliest country in Africa for journalists.