A journalist in Somalia was shot dead on Sunday, becoming the ninth journalist to be killed in the country this year.
Zakariye Mohamed Mohamud Moallim, a freelance cameraman, was killed in the Shibis district of Mogadishu.
According to family members, Moallim was attacked by four gunmen at a restaurant near his village, where he was shot in the head and the chest.
The journalist was killed immediately and the gunmen escaped the scene, according to eyewitnesses.
It is still unknown whether the attack on Maollim, whose father Mohamed Mohamud Moallim is also a journalist, was related to his work.
DCMF condemns attack
The Doha Centre for Media Freedom has spoken out against the attack on Moallim, calling for the government to act to prevent any more journalists’ deaths in Somalia.
"DCMF strongly condemns the tragic murder of yet another journalist in Somalia. The Somali government must take all the necessary steps to ensure that Zakariye Mohamed Mohamud Moallim's killers are brought to justice and that the culture of impunity that exists in the country is stamped out.”
“Somalia continues to be one of the world's most dangerous countries for media workers and the government must work harder to protect the safety of all journalists in the future. The rate at which journalists are being killed in Somalia is alarming, and must be addressed.”
“Bloody violence in the line of duty”
Other watchdogs have expressed their growing concern at the worsening situation in Somalia, urging the government to investigate this latest attack and to take precautions to protect journalists.
"We mourn yet another colleague who is a victim of bloody violence in the line of duty," said Secretary-General for the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), Omar Faruk Osman, following the attack.
“Zakariye's death is a tragedy for his family and colleagues who over years have confronted danger in covering their communities and country," he added.
"The new president, Hassan Sheik Mohamud, needs to appreciate the gravity of the situation for journalists in his country, the deadliest in Africa for the media," Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.
"By ordering an immediate probe into this freelance cameraman’s death and by giving the investigators the resources they need to arrest and punish those responsible, the president would demonstrate his and his government’s determination to combat the impunity enjoyed by the murderers of journalists until now.
"The protection of media workers should be one of the new government’s priorities as the regularity with which they are attacked is liable to encourage even more self-censorship or drive them into exile. Somalia is already a media black hole and news coverage could disappear altogether if nothing is done to end this spiral."
Journalists killed on monthly basis
Somalia is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists, and this year, journalists have been killed at the rate of one a month.
Last month, Mohamud Ali Keyre was gunned down in Mogadishu, and former journalist, Yusuf Ali Osman, who was working for the federal transitional government’s Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications, was killed on the same day.
RSF rates Somalia as 164th out of 179 on the World Press Freedom Index, making it the deadliest country for journalists in Africa.
Source: DCMF, RSF