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Senior journalist murdered

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - 28 January 2012 - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) strongly condemns and expresses outrage over the murder of Hassan Osman Abdi, senior journalist and director of Shabelle Media Network, the leading private radio and television network in Southern Somalia.

Abdi was shot dead on the evening of 28 January 2012 as he arrived at his home in Madina district in Mogadishu at 18:30 local time. He was followed by five men in a sedan who fired a total of five shots. Widely known as "Hassan Fantastic", Abdi suffered serious injuries to his head and chest and died on the way to Madina hospital.

“This is a terrible tragedy, both for Hassan Osman Abdi's family and for the Somali journalist community,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

Hassan Osman Abdi, who was born on 1 July 1982 in Jilib district of Lower Juba region, was appointed as Director of Shabelle Media Network in October 2011. He is a highly acclaimed journalist who had been busy unearthing politically complex issues and corruption within public institutions.

Abdi was elected as Branch Secretary of NUSOJ in Banadir region of Mogadishu city. Recently, he was chosen by NUSOJ to be the Somali delegate at a regional training session due to be organized by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) in Bujumbura, Burundi, in February 2012.

“All of the union officials are alarmed and saddened by the murder of Abdi, which has removed a cherished official in the union ranks and a respected colleague from the journalism fraternity,” added Osman.

NUSOJ expresses its condolences and sympathy to the members of Abdi's family, as well as to the management and journalists at Shabelle Media Network, which won the "Media of the Year Prize" awarded by Reporters without Borders for the year 2010.

Abdimalik Yusuf, Chairman of Shabelle Media Network, expressed shock and dismay over this senselness murder.

Local journalists believe that Abdi was murdered due to his leading role within Shabelle Media Network in reporting on political crisis in Mogadishu as well as uncovering corruption cases. “This was a calculated killing,” said one journalist who was close to Abdi.

“The use of violence to stop journalists from exercising their basic human right of freedom of expression is an unacceptable reality facing Somali journalists. We demand that the vicious circle of impunity for crimes against journalists must end,” declared Osman.

Hassan Osman Abdi, who left behind three children and their mother, sadly becomes the first journalist to be murdered in Somalia in 2012, as well as the fifth Shabelle Media Network journalist and fourth union official to be killed.
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