UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has expressed her alarm and anger over a wave of journalist murders in Somalia in the past week. Five journalists were killed in three separate attacks occurring on 16, 20 and 21 September.
“I am horrified by the sudden upsurge of violence targeting the media in Somalia,” the Director-General said. “I join the Somali Government in roundly condemning these murders, which are an outrage against the whole nation. They are also an extreme violation of the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press – both essential for the construction and functioning of healthy democracies , and especially important in a nation trying to rebuild after so many years of conflict.”
In Friday’s attack, well-known radio journalist Hassan Youssouf Absuge was shot dead as he left the studios of Radio Mantaa, and independent station for which he was the programme director.
On Thursday, three journalists - Liban Ali Nur, head of News at Somali National TV, Abdisatar Daher Sabriye, Head of news at Radio Mogadishu, and Abdirahman Yasin Ali, Director of Radio Hamar (Voice of Democracy) - were killed and four others injured in a suicide-bombing at a café frequented by journalists in Mogadishu, the capital.
Four days earlier, independent cameraman Zakariye Mohamed Mohamud Moallim was shot dead in the Nasib Bundo neighbourhood of Mogadishu.
“I urge the Somali authorities to do everything in their power to bring the perpetrators of these outrageous crimes to justice,” Irina Bokova added.
These latest killings bring to 13 the number of journalists killed in Somalia this year and 26 the number killed since 2008. They are remembered on UNESCO’s dedicated webpage UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray