Seasoned Journalist Killed in Somali Capital / IPI Condemns Brutal Murder of Radio Mogadishu Journalist
MOGADISHU, Somalia, May 6, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Sheikh Nur Mohamed Abkey, a journalist working with the Somali government-run radio station, Radio Mogadishu, was murdered by gunmen last night in Mogadishu, according to reports from local Somali press freedom advocates.
Abkey was reportedly walking through Mogadishu’s Bakara market yesterday morning when he was abducted by hooded gunmen.
According to an emailed statement from Mogadishu-based BBC stringer Mohammed Olad Hassan, the senior editor at Radio Mogadishu received a phone call from the abductors saying that they had Abkey and were planning to kill him. Around sunset, the editor received a phone call saying that the journalist had been killed, senior editor Abdirahman Yusuf Al-Adala was quoted by Hassan as saying.
It is believed that Abkey, 52, was killed by Islamist insurgents because he works for the government-run Radio Mogadishu, which is strongly critical of insurgent groups Al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam, the National Union of Somali journalists said in an emailed statement.
“To be honest Somali journalists are in hard circumstances in Mogadishu and across the country,” said one Mogadishu-based journalist. “We face challenges from the government and the insurgents – but the government does not kill journalists.”
The journalist, who did not wish to be named for security reasons, told IPI: “The Islamists don’t care and don’t respect what a journalist is and does; they automatically kill journalists. And journalists who work at Radio Mogadishu face higher risks than the others.”
Abkey is the first journalist to be killed in Somalia this year. Last year, nine journalists were murdered in the war-torn East African country, according to IPI’s Death Watch count.
“We condemn the brutal murder of Sheikh Nur Mohamed Abkey,” said IPI Director David Dadge. This murder is a barbaric waste, first of human life, and secondly of a seasoned journalist in a country that now more than ever needs the skills of veteran reporters. IPI calls on all parties in this conflict to stop attacking and killing journalists from all media and to respect the importance of their work in creating peace.”
Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, is one of the most dangerous cities in the world, for journalists as well as for other residents. This week, to coincide with World Press Freedom Day, and to highlight the challenges that reporters in conflict countries face on a daily basis, IPI is publishing a week-long series of diary entries from journalists in Somalia and Sri Lanka. Click here to read today’s entry from New York Times stringer Mohammed Ibrahim in Mogadishu.
International Press Institute (IPI)