Radio Station Employee Is Shot Dead in Somalia



New York Times

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A technician for the state-run broadcaster Radio Mogadishu was murdered on Saturday, the sixth media employee killed so far this year in Somalia. Separately, in the first such execution in Somalia, a man found guilty of killing a journalist last year was executed by firing squad.
Two armed men dressed in student uniforms attacked the technician, Ahmed Sharif, outside his home in the Shibis neighborhood of Mogadishu on Saturday morning, said Abdirahim Isse Addow, director of Radio Mogadishu. They fired four rounds, striking him in the chest and abdomen.

“He was rushed to Keysaney hospital, where he was confirmed dead,” Mr. Addow said. Both assailants escaped.

Also on Saturday, Aden Sheikh Abdi was executed by firing squad after his conviction for the murder of Hassan Yusuf Absuge, a reporter for Radio Maanta, a private station. A photograph from the scene of the execution showed Mr. Abdi tied to a post while a half-dozen men dressed in a mix of fatigues and police uniforms knelt and took aim with their rifles.

At a news conference, Col. Abdullahi Muse Keyse, a spokesman for the Somali military courts, said that Mr. Abdi was accused of belonging to the Islamic extremist group the Shabab. A lower military court convicted him in March and sentenced him to death. He appealed the sentence, but a senior military court rejected his appeal in July.

Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, and the execution of Mr. Abdi was part of efforts by the Somali government to crack down on attacks against the news media. This year, the government began offering rewards of $50,000 for tips leading to the arrests of the killers of journalists.

Journalists are vulnerable to a variety of groups in Somalia, including the feared Shabab militants, warlords and even common criminals in a country where weapons are readily accessible.

In July, gunmen killed a television reporter in the semiautonomous region of Puntland. Two Somali journalists were also shot last month in the southern port city of Kismayu, with one wounded critically.

According to Reporters Without Borders, 18 journalists were killed in connection with their work last year. Somalia ranks 175th out of 179 countries in the group’s most recent Press Freedom Index. The Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Somalia second in the world after only Iraq in allowing the killers of journalists to go unpunished.

The Somali government has tried to build on recent security gains after the Shabab militants were pushed out of Mogadishu and other cities. But a series of bombings this year and a deadly siege on a United Nations compound in June have starkly illustrated the dangers that remain.

Last Wednesday, the medical humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders said that it would no longer operate in Somalia because it was too dangerous.

The Shabab claimed responsibility Saturday for a raid across the border into Kenya in which at least four police officers were killed. The commissioner of Garissa County in northeast Kenya told The Associated Press that a local chief and a schoolteacher were also wounded in the attack on a police post in the village of Galmagalla late Friday.

Mohammed Ibrahim reported from Mogadishu, and Nicholas Kulish from Nairobi, Kenya.