In Somalia, reporter killed in vehicle ambush

New York, August 24, 2007—A young reporter returning from a journalism training workshop in the Somali capital of Mogadishu was shot dead today in southwestern Somalia when clan militiamen ambushed his vehicle, according to the National Union of Somali Journalists.

Abdulkadir Mahad Moallim Kaskey, a correspondent of the private, Mogadishu-based station Radio Banadir, was the only passenger killed when the truck he was in was shot at by gunmen. About 15 people in the Toyota pickup were traveling north of the southwestern commercial city of Bardera, in Gedo province, local journalist Mohamed Gaarane told CPJ. Kaskey died of a single bullet to the chest in the midnight incident, which left at least two other passengers wounded, Gaarane said.

“We mourn the death of Abdulkadir Mahad Moallim Kaskey and extend our condolences to his family and colleague,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said.

In the absence of a strong central government, gunmen linked to local clans clashing over land frequently set up roadblocks to extract money from vehicles in the area, according to local journalists.

Today, officials of the local Geledle sub-clan, which the gunmen allegedly belonged to, said they would hand over the perpetrators to provincial authorities after hundreds of people attended Kaskey’s funeral. 

Kaskey, 20, was an active young reporter respected by his colleagues, according to Radio Banadir program producer Ali Moalim. A day before his death, he had visited the offices of the press union in Mogadishu to discuss working conditions of journalists in southwestern Somalia. He was also a correspondent of Radio Maandeeq in Gedo and Radio Daljir in the northeastern semi-autonomous region of Puntland, according to local media reports.

In Somalia, stray bullets have claimed the lives of reporters Ahmed Kafi Awale of Radio of the Somali People in January 2000, Abdullahi Madkeer of DMC Radio in January 2003, Duniya Muhyadin Nur of Capital Voice in June 2005, and this year, Mohammed Abdullahi Khalif of Radio Voice of Peace, and Abshir Ali Gabre and Ahmed Hassan Mahad of Radio Jowhar.

Kaskey was the seventh journalist killed in Somalia this year and the third journalist killed within two weeks after the assassinations of two prominent broadcasters in Mogadishu, according to CPJ research. Only Iraq has seen more journalists killed this year.