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Radio reporter killed in renewed Mogadishu fighting; third Somali fatality this year

Radio Shabelle reporter killed in renewed Mogadishu fighting; third Somali fatality this year
Islamist fighters man a checkpoint at a road in the vicinity of the presidential palace in Mogadishu earlier this month. Fierce clashes have left at least 14 people dead as Somali government forces attempted to drive Islamist rebels out of the capital Mogadishu, officials and witnesses said.Photo: Agence France-Presse (AFP) / Mustafa Abdi

Radio Shabelle journalist Abdirisak Mohamed Warsame on Friday became the third Somali journalist to be killed in the line of duty this year. Warsame, 24, was shot in crossfire as government forces launched an assault against Islamist guerrilla fighters in Somalia's war-ravaged capital, Mogadishu.

Warsame, a producer for the leading independent broadcaster Shabelle Media Network, was scheduled to present Friday morning's 8 a.m. news bulletin, Station Director Moqtar Mohamed Hirabe told the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Warsame was shot in crossfire while on his way to work just before 7:30 a.m., according to the station.

The gunfire came after Transitional Federal Government forces launched a pre-dawn assault against hardline Islamist guerrilla strongholds. Local journalist Mustafa Haji Abdinur told CPJ the shooting occurred south of Mogadishu's Bakara Market area.

"We offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Abdirisak Mohamed Warsame, including his colleagues at Radio Shabelle who are mourning the death of a third journalist since 2007," CPJ Africa Programme Coordinator Tom Rhodes said. "We call on both sides of the conflict to take measures to protect journalists who are its unarmed witnesses."

“We offer our condolences to the journalist’s family as well as the staff of Radio Shabelle who have yet again lost one of their colleagues," Paris-based Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said. “This latest tragic death underlines the extent to which civilians are exposed to an extremely volatile and alarming situation. Even when not deliberately targeted, Somali journalists have no protection from the ferocity of the fighting in the country”.

Warsame is the third Radio Shabelle journalist to be killed in the line of duty since 2007; the station also lost Hassan Mayow Hassan, and Bashiir Noor Gedi. Warsame, 24, joined Radio Shabelle in 2007, according to Hirabe. He had been married for six months. In an email to CPJ, former radio Shabelle journalist Mohamed Amiin Adow said he remembered Warsame as a "talented" journalist and a "workaholic."

Three Somali journalists have died in the line of duty so far this year, CPJ research shows. Since 2007, 12 journalists have died in Somalia in connection with their work, half killed in crossfire and half targeted for murder.

Date posted: May 23, 2009 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 261