On the eve of the first anniversary of BBC reporter Kate Peyton’s murder in Mogadishu, Reporters Without Borders and its Somali partner organisation, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), voiced concern today that the investigation by the Somali authorities has produced no results.
“Peyton’s murderers enjoy complete impunity in Mogadishu,” the two press freedom organisations said. “We urge the judicial authorities to carry out a proper investigation and arrest the killers and we share the dismay of Peyton’s family and colleagues at seeing them go scot-free for the past year.”
The killers live openly in Mogadishu. They belong to a well-known clan that turns to an Islamic court to settle judicial issues. But their justice appears not to be operative when the victim is someone from outside the clan.
“The Somali government, which condemned this ‘act of savagery’ and offered a reward for information leading to the capture of Peyton’s killers, should ensure that justice is done quickly in this case,” the two organisations urged.
Usually based in Johannesburg, Peyton, 39, was hit in the back by a pistol shot fired by men in a car on 9 February 2005 outside the Sahafi International Hotel in Mogadishu, where she and other foreign reporters were accompanying a group of Somali parliamentarians who were supposed to pave the way for the transitional government’s arrival in Somalia two weeks later.
She had gone to the Sahafi International Hotel to meet parliamentary speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, who - since his installation on 29 August 2004 - had been chairing parliamentary sessions in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi because Somalia is so dangerous.
After being shot, Peyton was taken to Mogadishu’s Medina hospital, where she died a few hours later before she could be evacuated to Nairobi.