Reporters Without Borders is appalled to learn that Liban Abdullahi Farah, a TV reporter also known as Liban Qaran, was gunned down yesterday in Galkayo, the capital of the north-central region of Mudug.
Farah, who worked for Radio SBC (Somali Broadcasting Corporation) and also for Kalsan TV, a London-based satellite TV station, was returning home at around 7 p.m. when he was shot six times in the chest and neck by three gunmen and died on the spot. His killers fled the scene.
“The sad news of Farah’s murder marks the resumption of deadly violence targeting journalists in Somalia,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The lack of security for media personnel in urban areas is deplorable.
“On 18 January, we called on the Somali authorities to create a special force dedicated to protecting journalists. We reiterate this appeal now in the name of freedom of information and defence of human rights.”
It is not known for sure that Farah was targeted in connection with his work, but local journalists said he had been doing a series of reports on the election campaigns of politicians in Puntland, a semi-autonomous region just to the north of Galkayo. Puntland’s upcoming local government elections increase the probability that his murder was politically motivated.
Farah’s death brings the number of journalists murdered in Somalia since the start of the year to five, of whom two were clearly killed in connection with their work. As these murders go unpunished, Somalia is now one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists, with a total of 18 killed in 2012.
Farah’s murder came just four days after two journalists in the autonomous northwestern region of Somaliland – Hassan Hussein Abdullahi, the editor of the Hargeisa-based daily Hubaal, and Mohamed Ahmed Jama, the newspaper’s manager – were given jail sentences and heavy fines on libel charges.
Somalia is ranked 175th out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
Photograph: Journalist, Liban Abdullahi Farah