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Somalia11 August 2007

Two radio station chiefs killed in wave of political killings

Reporters Without Borders expressed horror at the murder today of two well-known Somali journalists - Radio Capital Voice director Mahad Ahmed Elmi, shot dead on his way to work in Mogadishu, and Ali Iman Sharmarke, director of Horn Afrik, killed by a bomb soon afterwards. Six media workers have been killed in Somalia so far this year.

“The transitional government must take urgent steps to protect journalists and thoroughly investigate and punish these murders to prevent further killings,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “Somalia is already this year the most deadly country in Africa for the media. The two journalists seem to have been victims of a wave of violence in the capital in the past 24 hours. We present our condolences to their families.”

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), a partner of Reporters Without Borders, said Elmi was shot in the head by mystery gunmen in the village of Gubta, on the outskirts of the city, and died later in hospital. Sharmarke was killed as he returned with many other journalists from Elmi’s funeral, by a bomb remotely-detonated as his car passed it. Another journalist in the car was slightly injured and another was in a state of shock.

Yesterday, Radio Mogadishu journalist Abdihakin Omar Jimale was wounded in the shoulder by gunmen who fired at him in the Yaqshid neighbourhood north of the capital and was hospitalised. Four government workers were killed yesterday, also in the north of the city.

Local radio and TV stations stopped broadcasting in protest against the violence.

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