Gunmen kill Somali journalist

Gunmen shot dead a Somali journalist on Friday in the latest of a string of murders targeting reporters in the war-ravaged capital, and taking the number killed this year to 13, colleagues said.

Veteran journalist Hassan Yusuf Absuge of independent Radio Maanta was shot as he left the station after the night shift, where he had been working reporting on a suicide attack that killed at least 14 people, including three journalists.

Somali journalists carry the slain body of their colleague Abdisalan Sheikh Hasan during his funeral in southern Mogadishu on December 19, 2011. Credit: REUTERS

“He was shot dead after he left the radio station,” Abidaziz Hussein, the radio's news editor told AFP.

“They shot him dead... the attackers escaped before police reached the area,” said Mohamed Hassan, a relative.

Press rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has called 2012 the “deadliest year” on record for Somalia, surpassing 2009 when nine died.

“This is a disaster, another journalist shot dead while we were burying three of our colleagues killed in the suicide attack yesterday,” said Hanad Ali, a local journalist. “It is a campaign to cleanse the free press.”

No group has claimed responsibility for the murder.

Mogadishu has been rocked by a string of attacks since Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents abandoned fixed positions last year and switched to guerrilla tactics.

However, some killings may also be linked to power struggles with the multiple factions in power.