Well-known Somali journalist shot dead in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA (BNO NEWS) -- Unidentified gunmen dressed as high school students shot dead a well-known journalist in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Sunday, officials said. It raises the number of journalists killed in the line of duty so far this year to at least eight.

Yusuf Ali Osman, who was better known as Yusuf-Farey, was killed when unidentified men wearing high school uniforms shot him with pistols in the Dharkenley District of Mogadishu. Osman, who is a past director of Radio Mogadishu and currently worked as Media Relations Director for Somalia's Information Ministry, was buried several hours later.

"We consider the assassination of Yusuf Ali Osman a big tragedy and we strongly condemn this unmitigated and senseless killing. It is a tragedy for the Somali media community," said Somali Exiled Journalists Association (SEJASS) chairman Mohamed Osman Hussein. He said Osman was also a lecturer at the Somalia Journalist Club (SJC).

Hussein added: "It is painful and heartbreaking to lose a great journalist in every month. The Somali government must demonstrate and carry out tireless investigations to identify the conspiracy behind these killings and bring to justice those responsible for this and previous crimes."

Osman is the eighth journalist to be killed in the line of duty so far this year, making Somalia the second-most dangerous place in the world for journalists. "It is simply unacceptable that over the course of the year justice was not served for any of the victims of these crimes," said Augustine Mahiga, the United Nations (UN) Special Representative for Somalia.

Mahiga added: "This culture of impunity must end. We must not allow the fundamental freedoms that a free press represents to be compromised by those willing to use violence to serve their personal agendas. This is a decisive time in the political process and the work of media needs to be protected so that the Somali people are fully informed."

Late last month, famed Somali comedian and media worker Abdi Jeylani Marshale was shot dead at his home in Mogadishu. It remains unknown who was responsible for the killing, but Marshale was well-known for making fun of the Somali militant group al-Shabab. The group had earlier threatened to kill him, forcing him to go into hiding in neighboring Somaliland for several days.

Al-Shabab is the militant wing of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts which took over most of southern Somalia in the second half of 2006. Despite efforts from the Somali and Ethiopian governments, the group has continued its violent insurgency in southern and central Somalia.

Somalia has been without an effective government since Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown two decades ago.

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