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Somalia28 January 2008

Journalist killed in bombing of Médecins sans Frontières vehicle near southern city

Reporters Without Borders is outraged and saddened by the deaths of a driver, two foreign aid workers and Somali journalist Hassan Kafi Hared when a bomb was set off today beside a Médecins sans Frontières vehicle near the port city of Kismayo in the southeastern region of Lower Jubba.

“Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims and with Médecins sans Frontières,” the press freedom organisation said. “Humanitarian aid workers, journalists and academics are the preferred targets of those who want to sustain the anarchy in Somalia with a view to retaking power. The ever-present danger is aggravated by the transitional government’s continuing failure to find a way to deal with these murders.”

A Kenyan doctor, a French logistics expert, their Somali driver and Hared were killed when a bomb was set off by remote control as the car, belonging to the Dutch branch of Médecins Sans Frontières, drove through Siya, a village to the north of Kismayo. Hared was not in the car. He was walking along the road and happened to be beside it.

The correspondent of the state-owned Somali News Agency (Sonna) and the website, Hared was one of the oldest members of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), which is the Reporters Without Borders partner organisation in Somalia, and he was its treasurer in the southeast region.

Controlled by local clans, Kismayo and the surrounding region have for the most part been spared by the Islamist guerrillas responsible for daily violence in Mogadishu. But the rebels recently threatened to launch attacks and bombings outside the capital.

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