IFJ Backs Calls for Urgent Action after Somali Journalist is Shot Dead

The International Federation of Journalists today backed Somali journalists calling for a full investigation into the killing of a radio presenter and union activist who was set upon and shot dead at the weekend.

According to the National Union of Somali Journalists Ali Mohammed Omar was killed in the early evening of Friday in Baidoa of Bay region in south-western Somalia.

“This is a shocking murder and we demand that the government gives top priority to bringing the killers to justice,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. The IFJ says that Omar worked for the influential radio network, Warsan Radio, as a newscaster and they fear he was the victim of a targeted attack.

According to the Somali National Union of Journalists, an IFJ affiliate, he was attacked by three unidentified assailants on his way to his home. The attackers ordered him to stop and then shot him dead as he tried to flee.

Omar Faruk Osman, Secretary General of the union said: "This shocking attack is absolutely intolerable, and we ask the transitional federal government to make a prompt investigation and find those responsible.”

The IFJ is also backing calls for more security for journalists in the southern region of the country where there have been journalists murdered over the past three years. "There is a pattern of attacks on the press and violence against journalists which requires urgent official action,” said White.

Ali Mohammed Omar was a member of the south-western branch of the union and was among the delegates representing the region at the union’s general assembly in Baidoa last year. The union praised his courage and said his work had been an inspiration to the Somali media community.

Radio Warsan, a privately-owned station, had been closed several times and only resumed operations ten days ago after agreement with national security agency of the transitional government in the region.

For further information contact the IFJ: +32 2 235 22 00
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries