Four Somali journalists die in two days of attacks in Mogadishu

 

McClatchy Newspapers

Four Somali journalists have been killed in the last two days in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, in what appears to be a campaign of assassination by unknown assailants.

Three were killed Thursday evening when two men blew themselves up at a popular hangout for journalists and political activists known as The Village. Six other journalists were wounded in the attack. Fourteen people in all died in the blast.

On Friday, a radio journalist was gunned down at a Mogadishu intersection.

The killings bring to 10 the number of local journalists who’ve died this year in what Tom Rhodes of the Committee to Protect Journalists called "the deadliest year for Somali journalists since this conflict began" more than 20 years ago.

Rhodes singled out militia groups and members of the previous Somali government as possible suspects in the attacks.

The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, where U.S. diplomatic efforts toward Somalia are based, said in statement that the attack "on a cafe known to be frequented by students, scholars, journalists and politicians underscores the attackers’ contempt for Somali lives and culture."

The location was known as a popular journalist hangout. A McClatchy correspondent was among about 10 journalists who’d gathered there Thursday afternoon but had left the restaurant about 20 minutes before the attack. He returned to find friends dead and others wounded at the bloody scene.

Somali journalists and Rhodes said they believe journalists were the primary targets of the Thursday bombing.

On Friday, Hassan Yusuf Absuge, a director at the privately owned Radio Maanta, was assaulted by men carrying pistols at a busy Mogadishu intersection. The men shot him in the head and he died immediately, according to news reports.

While most violence in Somalia has been blamed for years on al Shabab, the Somali affiliate of al Qaida, few here see them as likely suspects, given that Shabab’s forces were pushed out of Mogadishu last year. More likely suspects, many say, are to be found among Somali politicians who know such acts routinely will be blamed on Shabab.

The uptick in violence against journalists comes even as the Somali capital has grown more stable. The Village, where the Thursday attack occurred, was recently opened by one of many Somali businessman from the diaspora who are returning to invest in the city’s reconstruction.

Pictures of the three journalists killed Thursday, posted online, highlight another sad reality: They were all young men. Rhodes said that’s because older journalists have been killed, fled or decided journalism was not worth the risk.

The National Union of Somali Journalists has said that the lack of any arrests or reprisals for the attacks is only emboldening whoever is behind them.

“The culture of impunity has become ever more strongly entrenched because of the failure to bring those responsible for the murder and harassment of journalists to book," the group’s secretary general, Omar Faruk Osman, said in a statement posted to the group’s website on Friday.

Boswell is a McClatchy special correspondent. His reporting is underwritten in part by a grant from Humanity United, a California-based foundation that focuses on human rights. Email: aboswell@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @alanboswell

Read more World Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  • Lebanon army confirms identity of beheaded soldier

    Lebanon's military says it has identified the remains of a soldier beheaded by Islamic militants.

  • Putin, Poroshenko discuss settlement in Ukraine

    A spokesman for the Russian president says Vladimir Putin has discussed a peace settlement in eastern Ukraine with President Petro Poroshenko and found that they "largely share views" on ways out of the crisis.

  •  
In this Wednesday, June 18, 2014 photo, a North Korean national television station camera crew records the scenery from the peak of Mt. Paektu in North Korea's Ryanggang province. More than a thousand years ago, a huge volcano straddling the border between North Korea and China was the site of one of the biggest eruptions in human history, blanketing eastern Asia in its ash. But unlike other major volcanos around the world, the remote and politically sensitive Mount Paektu remains almost a complete mystery to foreign scientists who have - until recently - been unable to conduct on-site studies.

    UK team unlocking secrets of North Korea volcano

    More than a thousand years ago, a huge volcano straddling the border between North Korea and China was the site of one of the biggest eruptions in human history, blanketing eastern Asia in its ash. But unlike other major volcanos around the world, the remote and politically sensitive Mount Paektu remains almost a complete mystery to foreign scientists who have — until recently — been unable to conduct on-site studies.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category