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Somali BBC correspondent killed


Latest update : 2009-11-16

Nasteh Dahir, a Somali journalist working for foreign media, was shot and killed by gunmen in southern Somalia on Saturday. In a statement the organisation Reporters Without Borders called Somalia "Africa’s deadliest country for journalists."

AFP - Gunmen shot and killed a Somali journalist working for foreign media in southern Somalia, family members told AFP in the violence-shattered Horn of Africa nation.

Nasteh Dahir, 36, a correspondent for the British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC) Somali service and the US news agency Associated Press, died in hospital after he was shot in Kismayo, about 500 kilometres (310 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu, they said.

"Unknown assailants shot and seriously wounded him as he was going to his house," Mohamed Aden, a family member, told AFP.

"Dahir later died of his injuries and may our good Lord bless him," he added.

The BBC and several other colleagues confirmed the death of Farah, who was the vice president of Somali-based press rights watchdog, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).

"We can confirm that Nafteh Dahir Farah was killed by a gunman. He worked as a freelancer for the BBC as well as other agencies. We are shocked by what has happened and are trying to ascertain further information," said a BBC spokesman in London.

"We are speaking to Nafteh Dahir Sarah's family and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time."

Earlier, Sarah Ali, also a journalist in the town, said Dahir was in a coma in a Kismayo hospital after several bullets tore through his shoulders in the volatile township.

His death came a day after he expressed fear for his life in Kismayo amid escalating insecurity.

"I do not know if I can work in this hostile environment anymore. I am so scared," Dahir told AFP on Friday.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders mourned the journalist, and voiced outrage over the growing list of journalists death in Somalia.

"We share the dreadful grief that has struck the family and colleagues of Nasteh Dahir Farah. The list of dead just goes on growing while the authorities take no steps to curb the violence which targets journalists," RSF said in a statement.

"This apathy is disgraceful given the fact that Somalia is Africa’s deadliest country for journalists," the statement added.

The Mogadishu-based NUSOJ said targeting journalists would never dampen their resolve to chronicle the conflict in Somalia.

"No-one is protecting Somali journalists, who have become targets for all the armed groups," the group's secretary general Omar Faruq Osman said in a statement.

"We will not stop our work because of these criminals."

The motive for Dahir's murder remains unknown. The war-wracked Horn of Africa nation has been ranked as the world's second-deadliest country for journalists by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Last year, eight journalists were killed in Somalia, nearly all targeted in the course of their duties, but no one was ever punished for their murder, according to media rights watchdogs.

Many more journalists have also fled the country as the feuding Somali government and Islamists crack down on them alleging that they are taking sides in the conflict that has spurred one of Africa's worst humanitarian crisis.

The Somali government has also been chided for storming and yanking radio stations off air.

Somalia has been stricken by bloody conflict since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. Numerous United Nations-backed initiatives have failed to restore stability in the nation of 10 million people.

Date created : 2008-06-08