Fourth Somali journalist killed since year began

New York, April 5, 2012–Somali authorities must immediately investigate the murder of a radio journalist who worked for the country’s leading independent broadcaster and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice. Mahad Salad Adan was the fourth journalist killed in Somalia since the beginning of the year.

Unidentified assailants shot Adan at around 5 p.m. near his home in Beledweyne, the capital of the central Somali region of Hiran, according to local journalists and news reports. Adan, better known as Mahad Jamal, was the editor of Voice of Hiran, a radio station in Hiran, before he began working as a local correspondent for Somalia’s largest news outlet, the Shabelle Media Network.

Adan had reported on the conflict between Al-Shabaab and the Somali government and its Ethiopian allies, his colleague at Shabelle, Qaali Ahmed, told the Kenya-based news website Somalia Report. Somali forces had seized Beledweyne from Al-Shabaab’s control in late December, but have faced ongoing attacks from the insurgents, according to news reports. Ahmed said that some of Adan’s reports could be seen as critical of Al-Shabaab, the Somalia Report said.

Witnesses told reporters there were three gunmen. Government forces who arrived at the scene shot dead one of them, according to Shabelle. Some news accounts citing government officials reported that the dead gunman was an Al-Shabaab fighter.

“We condemn the senseless murder of journalist Mahad Salad Adan, and send our deepest condolences to his family and colleagues,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. “We call on Somali authorities to apprehend Adan’s killers and take all the necessary steps to ensure that journalists are able to work freely without fear of reprisal.”

At least three other journalists have been killed in Somalia this year, including the former Radio Shabelle Director Hassan Osman, who was shot dead in January near his home in Mogadishu. Over the past five years, six Radio Shabelle journalists have been killed in the line of duty, according to CPJ research.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This alert has been modified to reflect that the Somalia Report is Kenya-based, not U.K.-based.