Sixth Somali journalist killed this year

New York, July 6, 2009–The Committee to Protect journalists is saddened by the death of Radio IQK journalist Mohamud Mohamed Yusuf who was shot twice in the stomach on Saturday in the capital, Mogadishu. Yusuf, commonly known as “Ninile,” was hit by stray bullets after leaving the station in Afarta Jardin, northern Mogadishu, local journalists told CPJ. 

“We reiterate our plea to the Somali government and African Union peacekeeping troops to do everything in their power to protect journalists during this tumultuous period,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes. “Somalia had become the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, outstripping Iraq in 2009.”

According to local journalists and the National Union of Somali Journalists, Yusuf, 22, had just completed presenting the morning news and left Radio IQK at 8 a.m. when two stray bullets hit him. No one was able to reach Yusuf as he lay by the roadside for roughly three hours due to the heavy gunfire in the area, the union reported. The young journalist was eventually taken to Medina Hospital for treatment but died of blood loss, local journalists told CPJ.

Yusuf had worked at Radio IQK for three years as a reporter, presenter, and occasionally as a producer, the union reported. Yusuf is survived by his wife and three children. He is the sixth journalist killed this year and the second from Radio IQK. His colleague, veteran Radio IQK correspondent Nur Muse Hussein, died May 26 as a result of gunshot wounds inflicted while he was covering clashes one month earlier in Beledweyn, Somalia’s third largest city.

Mogadishu has been particularly volatile in recent weeks with an offensive by insurgent groups to topple President Sheikh Shaif Sheikh Ahmed and counterattacks by government forces.

Since 2007, 15 journalists have died in Somalia in connection with their work.