Somali freelance journalist attacked by gunmen, CPJ says

Somali freelance journalist attacked by gunmen, CPJ says

(Source: CPJ). The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports today that a Somali freelance reporter was attacked by unknown gunmen on Wednesday in the southern town of Kismayo, in the Jubbaland region.

Kismayo, a strategic townport, located some 500 km south of the capital Mogadishu, was held by Al-Shabaab for several months before they were chased out by Kenyan and allied Somali forces last year in violent combats that killed thousands of people, including women and children.

Abdulkadir Abdirisak, who works for Mustaqbal Radio and London-based Royal TV, was walking home around 6pm when two or three unidentified gunmen fired at him repeatedly, CPJ said in a statement posted on its website.

“If the Jubbaland administration claims to be a legitimate authority, then it must act like one and ensure the perpetrators of this crime are arrested,” CPJ East Africa consultant Tom Rhodes is quoted as saying in the statement.

Attacks on journalists in the Horn of Africa, both from government security forces and armed groups, continue unabated with no end in sight, forcing several journalists to operate underground, censor themselves, or leave the country for good.

“For too long Somali journalists, from the capital to Kismayo, have faced retribution from attackers who commit their crimes with total impunity,” Rhodes said. Royal TV producer Asad Abukar was said to be shocked by the attack.

“We are told he is recovering, but we are still trying to investigate the reason why this happened,” CPJ quoted Abukar as saying.

The nature and extent of his injuries were not immediate clear, and accounts varied as to whether Abdulkadir was struck once or multiple times, CPJ said, adding that the victim was admitted to Kismayo Hospital.

Abdulkadir handled general assignments and did some economic reporting that focused on the charcoal trade, CPJ said.

Local journalists told CPJ that Kismayo-based reporters are compelled to self-censor to avoid problems with the local administration or with the rival clan militias that vie for control of the region.

Additional reports and final editing by Issa Sikiti da Silva.

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