On World Press Freedom Day, a Somali reporter offers a first person account of covering a dangerous beat.
Gunmen have shot dead a Somali journalist working for a pro-government radio station in the southern city of Baidoa, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said.
Citing local journalists and news reports, the New York-based group said Daud Ali Omar was shot overnight on Wednesday at his home in Baidoa, 270km southwest of Mogadishu, the Somali capital.
The gunmen broke into Omar’s house at around 1am local time in the Bardaale neighbourhood while the journalist and his wife, Hawo Abdi Aden, were sleeping, the CPJ said.
The gunmen shot the two dead and fled the scene before the police arrived. Omar and his wife leave behind three children, the CPJ said.
“We condemn the murders of Daud Ali Omar and his wife, Hawo Abdi Aden, and call on the south-central administration of Somalia to do their utmost to investigate the terrible crime,” said CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes.
“Allowing the killers to remain at large will only add to the cycle of impunity and increasing violence we are witnessing in Baidoa.”
Omar, 35, was a producer for Radio Baidoa, which covered regional violence and local politics, according to the CPJ.
The privately owned station shared news and reporters with the state-run Radio Mogadishu. Omar had also worked as a news reporter for Radio Baidoa.
Local journalists cited by the CPJ said he produced a morning talk show called “Good Morning” a few years ago.
The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemned the murder and said Omar is the first journalist to be killed in Somalia this year.
NUSOJ said the attackers also killed the journalist’s neighbour who was not named.
“Details of the killing are still unclear but reports from colleagues say the bodies had bullet holes in the heads and chests. They were buried at Abow-Asharow cemetery, west of Baidoa on Thursday morning,” NUSOJ said in a statement.
“It’s a shocking trend as we lost a very respected colleague,” Mohamoud Mohamed Kheyre, Director of Radio Baidoa, said. “We mourn for his loss.”
NUSOJ said authorities in Baidoa blamed the attack on al-Shabab although the motive remained unclear.
Al-Shabab, an armed group affiliated to al-Qaeda, has waged war against the Somali government since 2007.
Although the group’s fighters have been driven from Mogadishu by African Union troops, al-Shabab has continued to carry out attacks in the capital and in neighbouring Kenya, where they killed 148 at Garissa University Campus last month.