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Killing of two journalists in Somalia prompts investigation call

Ten media workers killed since December

The Somali authorities and the international community must act to end impunity for the killing of media workers, Amnesty International said today, following the deaths of two journalists in separate incidents in the country’s capital Mogadishu at the weekend.

Yusif Ali Osman, a former veteran journalist and official in Somalia’s Ministry of Information, was shot dead in the Dharkenley district of Mogadishu on Sunday morning by two young men reported to have been wearing school uniforms. Before he started working for the Ministry of Information, Osman was director of the government-run radio station Radio Mogadishu.

The Islamist armed group al-Shabab has reportedly claimed responsibility for his death, calling him an enemy working for the Transitional Federal Government.

Another journalist, Mohamoud Ali Keyre (Buneyste), was reportedly killed by stray bullets during a fight between government troops in the Yaqshid district of the city that same afternoon. Keyre worked for Somali websites based in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, and had previously work for the radio station Radio Hamar (Voice of Democracy).

Yesterday’s deaths bring to ten the toll of media workers killed in Somalia since December. Not a single person has been brought to justice for the killings of journalists in Somalia this year, nor in previous years.

Amnesty International Somalia researcher Bénédicte Goderiaux said:

“Somalia's Transitional Federal Government should urgently open and complete thorough investigations into the killings of all journalists and media workers in the country, bring the perpetrators to justice, and ensure that it responds to the continuing threats on journalists' lives.

"The TFG however has shown no willingness to address the killings.

“The international community should establish an independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate and document crimes under international law committed in Somalia, including the killings of journalists.”

The deaths of Osman and Keyre follow a string of other recent killings of media workers in Somalia. Earlier this month, popular comedian Abdi Jeylani Malaq “Marshale” was shot dead by two men armed with pistols as he entered his home in the Waberi district of Mogadishu. Although the motive for his killing remains unclear, Marshale had produced and broadcast satirical programs for the Somali Radio Kulmiye and Universal TV, and had previously received death threats from al-Shabab.

And in May, Radio Daljir reporter Farhan Jemiis Abdulle was shot dead by two gunmen in Galkayo in Central Somalia.

On 1 August a draft Provisional Constitution for Somalia was approved by the National Constituent Assembly in Mogadishu - one of the steps agreed between the Somali transitional authorities and the international community to end the transitional period in the country. Amnesty is urging the current and future Somali authorities to take all steps necessary to make the right to life and the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press a reality - rights guaranteed in the Provisional Constitution.

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