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Fifth journalist assassinated, another seriously wounded; UNIVERSAL TV director released

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is shocked by the attack and assassination of a journalist in Mogadishu on 7 June 2009, the fifth journalist to be assassinated in the country since the beginning of 2009.

Two men with pistols attacked Muktar Mohamed Hirabe, director of Radio Shabelle, and Ahmed Omar Hashi (Tajir), news editor of Radio Shabelle, in Bakara Market. The attackers killed Muktar Mohamed Hirabe on the spot after shooting him in the head five times. They also seriously wounded Ahmed Omar Hashi after shooting him in the stomach twice. Hirabe, 48, and Hashi, 41, were walking together when they were attacked.

"The assassination of Muktar Mohamed Hirabe is a premeditated and targeted killing. Muktar Mohamed Hirabe was an experienced, well-respected and well-known journalist. The situation is beyond condemnation," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

"Ahmed Omar Hashi is a living witness of serious crimes that are repeatedly being committed against journalists. While we hope for his immediate recovery, our colleagues who are committed to doing their job in this extreme situation need to be protected", Omar Faruk added.

Today, 7 June, is the first anniversary of the murder of NUSOJ's vice president, Nasteh Daher Farah, in Kismayu.

Muktar Mohamed Hirabe is the fifth journalist to be assassinated in Somalia this year. He is also the third journalist murdered this year from Radio Shabelle and in Mogadishu. NUSOJ and INSI trained Muktar Mohamed Hirabe in Djibouti on how to operate in an unsafe environment in June 2008. He is survived by two wives and five children.

In a separate case, Ibrahim Mohamed Ali ("Jeekey"), the director of UNIVERSAL TV, who was kidnapped in Garasbaley village on 2 June by four hooded and armed men, was released by his kidnappers on 7 June.

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