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Radio station staffer killed by sniper

A Radio Simba staff member was killed by a sniper last week in the midst of fighting between insurgents and the Somali government and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces in Mogadishu, report the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

Farah Hassan Sahal, 45, was moving radio equipment for storage in a safer place, working just outside the station's compound in the restive Bakara Market, when he was shot three times.

Local journalists say forces may have mistaken Sahal for an insurgent. The shots were fired from an area under the control of AMISOM. IFEX members have called on the African Union (AU) to investigate the shooting.

Radio Simba is one of the few media groups continuing to operate within this volatile area. However, recent clashes have forced it to suspend its activities because it lacks the funds to move to a safer place.

The country's Transitional Federal Government (TFG), supported by AU forces, has been fighting Al-Shabaab insurgents since late 2006. The government gained new territory this year in Mogadishu, including most of Al-Shabaab's former stronghold in Bakara Market.

The protracted war has recently led to tens of thousands of famine refugees moving into relief camps in the capital.

"While the current famine has put Somalia at the centre of the world's attention, this incident serves as a reminder that the crisis is not just about food or humanitarian needs but also about the war and the anarchy that have prevailed there for the past 20 years," RSF said. "Local journalists work in terrible security conditions, caught in the crossfire from the fighting and often deliberately targeted by anti-media militiamen."

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    Farah Hassan Sahal, who works for Radio Simba, was shot outside the station by a soldier who is believed to either be with the African Union Mission or Transitional Federal Government.

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