Reporters Without Borders is appalled by the murders of two more journalists in Mogadishu in the past two days, one shot dead at a checkpoint today and one found beheaded yesterday morning.
"The horror, violence and cruelty of the attacks on journalists in Somalia are growing by the day, as is the pace at which they are taking place," the media freedom organization said.
With 15 journalists killed in connection with their work so far this year, 2012 is already Somalia’s deadliest year ever for media personnel. The second half of September has been particularly bloody, with a total of seven journalists killed in the past two weeks, five of them during the week of 16 to 21 September.
The first of the past two day’s victims was Abdirahman Mohamed Ali, a sports reporter for the Ciyaarahamaanta.com website, who was founded beheaded yesterday morning in Suqa Holaha, a district on the north side of the capital, after being kidnapped the previous night from his mother’s home.
The Islamist militia Al-Shabaab acknowledged responsibility for his murder, saying he did not live in Suqa Holaha and claiming he had gone there to spy on Al-Shabaab members.
Ahmed Abdulahi Farah, 32, a photographer working for the Yemeni news agency Saba, was shot dead today while aboard a minibus near a checkpoint in the southern district of Madina. According to initial information obtained by Reporters Without Borders, armed men opened fire when he took out his camera to take photos of the checkpoint.
"Mogadishu has become a slaughterhouse for journalists and if this does not stop the free press in Somalia will die," a Somali journalist told Agence France-Presse.
In Reporters Without Borders’ view, the need is more urgent than ever for thorough investigations into the murders of journalists, at best to identify and punish those responsible but otherwise at least to shed light on the circumstances of their deaths. Concrete measures must also be taken to protect journalists.
A resolution passed by the United Nations Human Rights Council on 28 September called on the Somali government to protect journalists and urged its partners to provide it with the necessary technical assistance to do this. This is the paragraph of the resolution about media freedom and journalists:
UN Human Rights Council
"Also strongly condemns all attacks on journalists, including the deadly terror attack on 20 September and the assassination on 21 September of a prominent journalist in Mogadishu; calls upon the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia to protect the safety of the journalists; and calls on all states to provide the necessary technical assistance to the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia, the sub-national authorities, the national union of Somali journalists and individual journalist in this regard; and urges the State actors and non-State actors to refrain from intentional violence against and harassment of journalists and to respect freedom of expression."