Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on Somalia’s federal authorities and the authorities in the semi-autonomous northeastern region of Puntland to carry out a thorough investigation into this week’s murder of a radio reporter in a central city and to identify those responsible.
The reporter, Abdirizak Said Osman, was stabbed to death by unknown attackers at around 11 p.m. on 18 September as he left Voice of Peace, a local radio station in Galkayo, a city on Puntland’s southern border that is mostly controlled by the Puntland government.
According to the information obtained by RSF, Osman had recently done several reports for Voice of Peace about the decline in the security situation in the region, alluding to the terrorist methods used by the Islamist rebel group Al-Shabaab.
The editor of Voice of Peace said that, the day before Osman’s murder, the station received a call from a person claiming to be member of Al-Shabaab who said: “Stop inciting against Shabaab or otherwise we will take action.”
“The list of journalists who are the victims of terrorism in all its forms, including threats, bombings and murders, keeps on getting longer,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “The Somali federal authorities and the Puntland local authorities must conduct a serious and thorough investigation in order to identify those responsible for this murder and must take action to guarantee journalists’ safety.”
A hit-list found on an Al-Shabaab fighter in 2014 included seven journalists. One of them was Awil Mohamud Abdi, the manager of Radio Galkayo, another Galkayo-based radio often targeted by Al-Shabaab.
Somalia continues to be the deadliest country for reporters in sub-Saharan Africa, with a total of 11 killed since 2015, eight of them the victims of terrorism. Those responsible for the execution-style murders of journalists are rarely identified and brought to justice – perpetuating an impunity that exposes journalists to the worst atrocities.
When Abdirizak Kasim Limaan, a cameraman for UK-based Somali Broadcasting Services, was shot dead by a police officer at a checkpoint in Mogadishu on 26 July, RSF immediately issued a call for the arrest of the officer responsible. Nearly two months have gone by since then, and he still has not been arrested.
Somali is ranked 168th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index, one place lower than in 2017.