Gunmen Ambush, Kill Somali Journalist

Posted January 28th, 2012 at 2:35 pm (UTC-5)
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The director of an independent Somali radio station is dead – ambushed and killed by masked gunmen.

Witnesses, and a producer at Shabelle Radio in the capital of Mogadishu, say 29-year-old Hassan Osman Abdi was on his way home from the station late Saturday when he was shot and killed by pistol-wielding assailants.

A VOA reporter in Mogadishu says Abdi, also known as Hassan Fantastic, was entering his home at the time of the attack.

A statement from the National Union of Somali Journalists condemned the attack and said Abdi had been followed home by five men in a sedan, who shot him five times. It said Abdi died from head and chest injuries as he was being taken to the hospital.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Abdi, a father of three, had worked at Shabelle Radio for three years. NUSOJ cited colleagues as saying they believed his killing was related to his role in reporting on the political crisis in Somalia and on corruption.

Attacks on journalists are not uncommon in war-ravaged Somalia.

This past December, a gunman shot and killed a prominent television journalist in Mogadishu. A spokesman for Horn Cable TV said Abdisalam Sheikh Hussein was shot in the head by a man wearing a Somali government uniform.

Somali government and African Union forces are battling the Islamic militant group, al-Shabab, which controls most of central and southern Somalia.

The country has endured 20 years of lawlessness and conflict since the fall of the last stable government.