Nairobi, September 21, 2012–Unidentified gunmen killed veteran Somali journalist Hassan Yusuf Absuge in Mogadishu this morning, just hours after he had reported on an explosion that killed 14 people including three of his colleagues.
The assailants shot Hassan three times in the head near a high school in Yaqshid district, but fled the scene before police arrived, according to local journalists and news reports. Hassan, a reporter and producer for the private Radio Maanta, had covered Thursday’s suicide bomb attack at a popular café frequented by journalists and civil servants, news reports said.
Local journalists told CPJ that the identities of the gunmen were not clear, but news accounts citing local journalists reported that the attacks were happening in government-controlled areas. “So it could be Al-Shabaab or another militia, or even former government officials,” said one journalist who spoke to CPJ on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. It is not clear why Hassan would have been targeted.
“CPJ mourns the death of Hassan Yusuf Absuge and extends its deep condolences to his family and colleagues,” said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. “Mogadishu has lost yet another good journalist who persisted with his work in the face of enormous risk. The new government must do its utmost to ensure security for the press.”
Hassan had worked as a journalist since 1989 and contributed to Radio Mogadishu and GBC broadcasters, according to local news reports.
The three journalists killed in Thursday’s attack were buried in different cemeteries in the city today due to security concerns, according to local reports. Somalia is the most dangerous country in Africa to practice journalism, according to CPJ research. The threat of violence has driven more journalists into exile from Somalia than from any other country in the past year, CPJ research shows.
- For more data and analysis on Somalia, visit CPJ’s Somalia page here.