A report by the CBC says two journalists killed in Somalia today had lived in Ottawa before returning to Somalia in 1999 to help build an independent press.
There are numerous reports that Mahad Ahmed Elmi and Ali Iman Sharmarke were the targets of deliberate attacks in Mogadishu on Saturday. They operated Horn Afrik Media Company, which CBC noted was “a station that has criticized both the government and Islamic militants in Somalia.” At least two other journalists were also injured, in the latest of a wave of violence against media in which six journalists have died this year.
Here’s a Reuter’s report on the Globe and Mail site.
Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow, who knew both of the journalists, said in a story on that organization’s web site, “Moments before Ali Imam was killed, he had told journalists about the movements silencing the Somali media who were talking about the poor conditions for Somali people today … Pressure has been mounting on Somali journalists. They have been victimised for not reporting on the issues of interest to certain groups.”
Here’s an excerpt of a press release calling for “international action” to confront the targeting and killing of journalists in Somalia, from the International Federation of Journalists:
The International Federation of Journalist (IFJ) has demanded urgent international action to confront the targeting and killing of journalists in Somalia following a brutal double attack in which one media chief was shot dead and another killed only hours later in a car bombing while returning from the funeral of the first victim.
“These savage killings are an indicator of the perilous conditions facing journalists in Somalia, where political chaos and lawlessness threatens all independent journalism,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “It’s time for the international community to focus again on the crisis in Somalia. So long as journalists are targeted no-one is safe.”
Reporters Without Borders “expressed horror at the murder today of two well-known Somali journalists – Radio Capital Voice director Mahad Ahmed Elmi, shot dead on his way to work in Mogadishu, and Ali Iman Sharmarke, director of Horn Afrik, killed by a bomb soon afterwards. Six media workers have been killed in Somalia so far this year.”