2 JOURNALISTS KILLED IN SOMALIA

MOGADISHU, Somalia (GORGORNEWS) — The general director of a local independent radio station in Mogadishu was killed in a roadside bomb explosion Saturday while coming home from the funeral of a murdered colleague shot earlier that day, a journalist with Shabelle Radio told CNN on Sunday.

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Somalis surround the body of Mahad Ahmed Elmi, one of two radio journalists killed Saturday in Mogadishu.

Ali Iman Sharmarke, the general director of Somali media house Horn Afrik, was riding in a car that was part of a larger convoy when a roadside bomb exploded, killing him and wounding two passengers.

Shabelle journalist Aweys Osman Yusuf said Sharmarke’s car was in the middle of a convoy and it appeared that his car was the target of the attack.

“My colleagues told me all other cars passed where the bomb was planted and only that car when it came into the area the bomb exploded,” he said.

Sharmarke was attending the funeral of Mahad Ahmed Elmi, the director at Capital Voice — a second FM station of Horn Afrik. Elmi was shot and killed by unknown gunmen early Saturday as he made his way to work.

Speaking at Elmi’s funeral hours before his own death, Sharmarke encouraged fellow journalists in attendance to take their radio programs off-air as a symbol of solidarity and protest against the murder of his employee.

According to Yusuf, as of Sunday, 13 FM stations were off the air and have been since midday Saturday.

Journalists throughout the capital have expressed outrage at the separate attacks against their colleagues. Although no one has publicly taken responsibility for the killings, Yusuf said his colleagues view the deaths as part of a wider, deliberate campaign being waged against journalists.

Another Somali journalist, Yasmin Mayow, said “from today I am afraid to go to work as journalist and I can see now the target is local journalists being threatened and killed,” according to a translation provided by Reuters.

Over the weekend another journalist was attacked.

On Friday night three gunmen shot and wounded Abdi Omar Jimale, a radio journalist working for Radio Baidoa, the journalist’s mother said.

Jimale was attacked at his home in northern Mogadishu and hospitalized at Keysaney hospital, according to his mother, who lives with her son.

Mogadishu has been a persistent hotbed of violence spawned by the fighting between Ethiopian troops, who are supporting Somalia‘s transitional government forces, and remnant fighters from the Islamic Courts Union, which was ousted from power late last year by Ethiopian troops.

Washington accused the Islamic movement of harboring fugitives from the al Qaeda terrorist network, including a suspect in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and backed the Ethiopian invasion.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has been charged with helping restore security and rebuild the war-torn country. The force also is helping to protect the transitional government, backed by the United Nations.

GORGOR NEWS S.WRITER ABDI IDAJA CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT

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