Human rights activists are calling for an international commission of inquiry to investigate attacks on Somali media workers and journalists following the murder of two reporters in Mogadishu over the weekend.
“Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) 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,” said Bénédicte Goderiaux, a Somalia researcher at Amnesty International.
“The TFG however has shown no willingness to address the killings. The international community should establish an independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate.”
The weekend’s killings were the latest in a string of attacks which has claimed the lives of nine Somali journalists this year.
According to the National Union of Somali Journalists….
Three unknown gunmen dressed like school children shot to death Yusuf Ali Osman (right), a veteran Somali Journalist and former director at the Somalia’s Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunication, several times on the head on Sunday morning around 7:00am local time. Osman was killed in Mogadishu Dharkenley district near a garage where he used to park his car to go for work, according to witnesses.
“This is another tragic loss for the Somali media community and we should not be intimidated by these cowardly acts of assassinations meant to silence the voice of the voiceless,” said Mohamed Ibrahim, secretary general of the National Union of Somali Journalists. “The criminals must not be let free and must be accounted for.”
In a separate incident, broadcast journalist, Mohamoud Ali Yare – also known as Buneyste – was killed by a stray bullet while watching a football game. Yare was the Nairobi correspondent of the Mogadishu based Radio Hamar – Voice of Democracy.
The United Nations representative to Somalia condemned the killings, highlighting the fact that no assailants have yet been arrested.
“I send my deepest condolences to their families and to all Somali media professionals, who for too long have seen their colleagues targeted, injured and assassinated without a single perpetrator being brought to justice,” said Augustine Mahiga.
“This culture of impunity must end. We must not allow the fundamental freedoms that a free press represents to be compromised by those willing to use violence to serve their personal agendas. This is a decisive time in the political process and the work of media needs to be protected so that the Somali people are fully informed,” Mahiga said.
The NUSOJ is a grantee of the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.