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Unknown gunmen shoot, injure journalist

(CPJ/IFEX) - New York, March 26, 2012 - The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Sunday's shooting of radio journalist Mohyadin Hassan Mohamed in the capital, Mogadishu, and calls on authorities to ensure his safety.

Two unknown gunmen opened fire on Mohamed, the news director of Shabelle Media Network's radio station, as he walked home from work at around 6 p.m., news reports said. The journalist told CPJ that he ran after the gunmen began shooting at him, and that one bullet grazed his chest.

Islamist insurgents Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the shooting, according to Somalimemo, a website that supports the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group. The group has also claimed responsibility for the 2010 murder of journalist Sheik Nur Mohamed Abkey.

Staff members at Shabelle Media Network, Somalia's largest media group, have been targeted in the past, CPJ research shows. The local police commander pledged to investigate the incident, local journalists told CPJ.

"This attack on Mohyadin Hassan Mohamed is the latest example of the deteriorating press freedom climate in Somalia," said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. "Authorities must immediately ensure Mohamed's safety as well as the security of all journalists working in the country."

Al-Shabaab has waged a campaign of terror and censorship against Somalia's independent press, including threats and abductions of journalists and forced closures of news outlets, CPJ research shows.

Assailants have killed three journalists in Somalia this year alone, including the former Radio Shabelle Director Hassan Osman, who was shot dead in January near his home in Mogadishu. Over the past five years, six Radio Shabelle journalists have been killed in the line of duty, according to CPJ research.

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