Visiting Somali journalist shot dead in Mogadishu

EDITOR’S NOTE: Subsequent to the publication of this report, questions were raised about the veracity of the account given by the primary sources. CPJ has published two follow-up reports detailing those questions, which raise doubts as to whether a killing took place as described. CPJ continues to monitor the case.

Nairobi, March 25, 2013–Somali authorities must immediately investigate the murder of a radio journalist who was shot dead on Sunday evening in Mogadishu, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Two unidentified gunmen shot Rahmo Abdulkadir five times as she was walking to a relative’s house near Bacaad Market in Yaaqhiid District of Mogadishu, news reports said. Local journalists said the gunmen fled the scene before police arrived. News accounts reported that Rahmo’s unidentified female companion was unharmed.

Rahmo, 25, a reporter for Radio Abudwaq (Worshipper), was visiting Mogadishu from Galgadud district, a region in central Somalia, where the station was based. Abdikarim Ahmed, director of Radio Abudwaq, said the staff was shocked by the news and knew of no motive for the attack, news reports said.

Local journalists told CPJ the station covers news and social affairs for the central region of Somalia. It is unclear if the station had aired any sensitive stories in recent weeks.

Last month, Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon set up an Independent Task Force on Human Rights whose mandate includes investigating past cases of journalist murders, according to news reports. The prime minister also announced a $50,000 public reward for information leading to the conviction of a journalist killer.

“Despite promising measures set up by the government last month, the number of killed journalists in Somalia continues to grow,” said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. “Authorities must double their efforts and ensure security forces in Mogadishu are prepared to ensure the security of all civilians, including journalists.”

At least one journalist has been killed in direct connection to his work in Somalia in 2013, according to CPJ research. CPJ ranks Somalia as the most dangerous country to practice journalism in Africa. For the third consecutive year, the country has ranked second on CPJ’s Impunity Index, which calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population.

  • For more data and analysis on Somalia, visit CPJ’s Attacks on the Press.