The director of Somalia’s Shabelle Radio Network was gunned down in Mogadishu today, one of his colleagues who was also wounded in the attack told AFP. Witnesses said the assassination of Mokhtar Mohamed Hirabe took place in the capital’s restive Bakara area.
“We were walking in the street together,” Ahmed Omar Hashi said from his hospital bed in Medina hospital. “Hirabe was shot in the head and he fell to the ground while I was hit in the stomach and in the hand. Then the gunmen came, they shot him again in the head but I managed to escape,” he said.
Another Somali radio journalist was killed in clashes last month. Somalia is one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists. Media houses have been routinely shut down by the authorities and many reporters, Somali and foreign, have been kidnapped by armed groups. Two freelance journalists, an Australian and a Canadian kidnapped near the capital some nine months ago, are still being held, while a Somali TV reporter was also kidnapped on 2 June.
Somalia has lacked an effective central government since the 1991 ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre plunged the country into violence.