Gunmen kill journalist from Somali radio station

Gunmen kill journalist from Somali radio station
# 04 May 2010 22:05 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Gunmen in the Somali capital killed a veteran journalist working for the state-run radio station Tuesday, and colleagues said they suspect the killing was because of the station’s critical view of insurgents, APA reports quoting website.

Sheik Mohamed Abkey was abducted earlier Tuesday, said Abdiraham Yusuf Al-adala, the station’s chief editor.

"Members of the al-Shabab militant group phoned us and told us they had our colleague and they were going to kill him. Later on, around the sunset prayer, they again phoned us and told us the news of the death of our man," Abkey said.

Residents said they had seen the body of the journalist lying in one of Mogadishu’s streets.

Abkey had long worked for the Somali News Agency, SONA, which he joined in the 1970s. During Somalia’s years of civil war he also worked for the Somali Television Network based in Mogadishu, where he was a news anchor and comedian. More recently, he worked with Somalia’s information ministry.

No militant group immediately claimed responsibility. Abkey’s colleagues said they suspect he was targeted because he was working at a station critical of radical Islamists.

Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. Reporters Without Borders says nine journalists were killed in Somalia in 2009, including three killed in December when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at a university graduation in Mogadishu.

In a separate development, an official with the Organization of Islamic Conference said the group plans to reopen its office in war-ravaged Somalia after nearly 17 years.

The group’s director of humanitarian affairs, Fuad Ali Al-Masna’i, said the aim is to provide aid to hungry Somalis whose humanitarian situation is deteriorating due to the withdrawal of the U.N.’s food agency early this year. He said Monday that the office would open soon, but did not give a date.

Nearly half of Somalia’s 7 million people depend on food aid.

The militant group al-Shabab barred the World Food Program from distributing food in areas under its control.