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TWO REPORTERS KILLED IN AMBUSH ON GOVERNMENT DELEGATION

Two journalists travelling in convoy with a Somali government delegation were shot dead by unidentified gunmen north of Mogadishu, report the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontieres, RSF) and their local partner, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).

Radio Jowhar reporters Abshir Ali Gabra and Ahmed Hassan made up part of the convoy led by the governor of the Middle Shabelle region, Mohammed Omar Deele, who had left the provincial capital Jowhar on 15 May for the Addale district. Gabra and Hassan, travelling in the first car of the convoy, were killed instantly when the car was riddled with bullets. Six of the governor's bodyguards also died in the ensuing shootout, says RSF.

According to NUSOJ, the journalists were planning to report on the governor's mediation between rival clans who had been fighting over a piece of land. The clan skirmishes have left 16 dead in the past few days, reports RSF.

Gabra, who was also a stringer for IQK FM in Mogadishu, was the head of the Shabelle branch of NUSOJ. Ahmed Hassan Mahad was also a correspondent for the Somali Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) Radio in Bossasso, Puntland.

The press freedom groups report that four journalists have been killed so far this year in Somalia, including Abdullahi Khalif who was shot dead in early May by crossfire while covering an arms raid in Puntland.

Visit these links:
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=22237
- IFJ: http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?Index=4933&Language=EN
- NUSOJ: http://www.nusoj.org/
- East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network: http://www.yorku.ca/crs/AHRDP/index.html
(22 May 2007)

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