Nairobi, May 24, 2012–Assailants in Mogadishu today gunned down the host of a critical radio program, further punctuating what has already been a deadly year for the Somali press corps and for the journalist’s employer, the Shabelle Media Network.
Four unidentified men fired repeatedly at Ahmed Addow Anshur at around 1:45 this afternoon while he was in Bo’le Market, in Dharkenley District, local journalists told CPJ. Ahmed was on his way home from work, the journalists said. Eyewitnesses said that soldiers of the Somali government were in the general area of the shooting, but did nothing when the attack happened, according to local journalists. The motive for the attack was unclear, and no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Ahmed produced and hosted a popular late-night political program, “Qubanaha Waraka” (News Content), that was highly critical of both the Somali government and the insurgent group Al-Shabaab, according to local journalists. He had worked for Shabelle Media Network for more than three years.
“It is always the same pattern: Our journalists are being targeted when they are walking home from work,” Mohamed Amin, the deputy director of the Shabelle Media Network, told CPJ. “We are really scared but committed to continuing our editorial independence.” Shabelle TV and radio stopped broadcasting for several hours today to mourn their colleague, the outlet said in a statement.
“Shabelle journalists have paid a terribly high price for their courageous work, as has the entire Somali press corps,” said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. “The international community owes a great debt to these journalists who have persevered despite the great risk. Somali authorities must do their utmost to investigate this murder and end impunity in the killings of journalists.”
Ahmed was buried at Jazeera Cemeteries in the southern suburbs of Mogadishu. He leaves behind a wife he recently married.
Shabelle, the nation’s leading broadcaster, has seen two other staffers killed this year, according to CPJ research. In all, five journalists have been killed in Somalia this year in addition to Ahmed, according to CPJ research. Unidentified assailants killed former Radio Shabelle Director Hassan Osman in January in Mogadishu and Mahad Salad Adan in the central town of Beledweyne in April. In addition, Radio Shabelle News Director Moyhadin Hassan narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in March, he told CPJ.