Two Somali journalists were killed within a 24-hour period this weekend, according to news reports. The International Press Institute called on the transitional government and its backers to take responsibility for the safety of journalists operating in the country.
Yusuf Ali Osman was murdered on Sunday morning by men dressed up as school children who were waiting for him near a parking garage where he kept his car, reports said. Osman was a veteran reporter who had worked for Somali National Radio and Television, as a media trainer, and for the information ministry, according to reports. The Islamist insurgent group Al Shabab has claimed responsibility for his death, reports said.
Later that day, Mohamud Ali Keyre, 23, was taking pictures of a car accident near a sports stadium when he was accidentally killed by government soldiers who started shooting at each other, according to news reports. Keyre reportedly worked for Voice of Democracy Radio and had recently returned from Kenya, where he fled after receiving death threats.
The latest killings underscore the extreme danger that journalists face in the war-torn country, where the United Nations- and African Union-backed government struggles to exert authority over patches of the country. Eight journalists have been killed there so far in 2012 – making Somalia second only to Syria as the deadliest country in the world for media workers. Earlier this month, a ninth media worker – Somali comedian and broadcast personality Abdi Jeylani Marshale – was shot dead in his Mogadishu home by unknown gumen. He was known for poking fun at Al Shabab.
“The Somali authorities have a responsibility to ensure the protection of journalists, and the Transitional Federal Government must react when members of the press are targeted,” IPI Deputy Director Anthony Mills said. “The perpetrators must be found and brought to justice. Otherwise this cycle of killing will continue.”