Gunmen in Kismayo attack Somali reporter

Nairobi, May 30, 2013Authorities in the Jubbaland region of Somalia must apprehend the gunmen who attacked freelance journalist Abdulkadir Abdirisak in the southern port town of Kismayo on Wednesday evening, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. 

“If the Jubbaland administration claims to be a legitimate authority, then it must act like one and ensure the perpetrators of this crime are arrested,” CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes said. “For too long Somali journalists, from the capital to Kismayo, have faced retribution from attackers who commit their crimes with total impunity.”

Abdulkadir, a freelance journalist who works for Mustaqbal Radio and London-based Royal TV, was walking home around 6 p.m. when two or three unidentified gunmen fired at him repeatedly, according to local journalists and news reports citing witness accounts.

The nature and extent of his injuries were not immediate clear. Accounts varied as to whether Abdulkadir was struck once or multiple times. Local journalists said Abdulkadir was admitted to Kismayo Hospital.

“Really I was shocked to hear he was attacked,” Royal TV producer Asad Abukar said. “We are told he is recovering, but we are still trying to investigate the reason why this happened.” Abdulkadir handled general assignments and did some economic reporting that focused on the charcoal trade, according to local journalists.

Intermittent attacks on the press have been reported in Kismayo, 500 kilometers south of the capital, even though Al-Shabaab insurgents were ousted by Kenyan and allied Somali forces last year.

Local journalists told CPJ that Kismayo-based reporters are compelled to self-censor to avoid problems with the local administration or with the rival clan militias that vie for control of the region. On January 21, the Raskamboni militia ordered local journalists not to report any news without its consent, according to the Jubbaland Independent Journalists Association and news reports.