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First journalist killed in 2010

Somali media took another heartbreaking blow with the murder of a Radio Mogadishu journalist last week, report the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) and other IFEX members. Just one day after World Press Freedom Day, on 4 May, gunmen abducted and killed the journalist; he had worked for a station managed by the Transitional Federal Government.

Veteran journalist Sheik Nur Mohamed Abkey had worked for several media houses in the capital, Mogadishu, over the past 10 years, including HornAfrik Radio, Somali Television Network (STN), East Africa Radio and recently, Radio Mogadishu, which is critical of insurgent groups. He was also a highly skilled producer, reporter, presenter and technician.

Abkey was not intimidated by the warring factions and refused to move to the radio station for safety, continuing to live in an area controlled by insurgents, say local journalists. Most local radio stations in Mogadishu did not report the incident, afraid of reprisals by insurgents, reports the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Al-Shabaab militants control most of central and southern Somalia and parts of Mogadishu.

A local journalist told the International Press Institute (IPI): "The Islamists don't care and don't respect what a journalist is and does; they automatically kill journalists. And journalists who work at Radio Mogadishu face higher risks than the others."

After a respite of several months, militants are threatening to resume killing journalists, says Reporters Without Borders (RSF). According to CPJ research, Abkey is the 33rd journalist killed in the country since 1993.

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    Colleagues believe Sheik Nur Mohamed Abkey was murdered because of his work with Radio Mogadishu, which is owned by the Transitional Federal Government.

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