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Somali poet killed by gunmen; journalist dies a week after being shot

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is appalled to learn of the murder of a poet and media worker in Mogadishu.

According to information received by NUSOJ, Warsame Shire Awale, a renowned poet who worked for Radio Kulmiye, was attacked on the evening of 29 October 2012 near his house in the Waberi district. He was reportedly shot several times by unidentified gunmen and was immediately rushed to the Daru Shifa hospital, where he was declared dead.

NUSOJ was informed that Warsame Shire Awale had recently been receiving threats related to comments he made about gunmen who are taking aim at the civilian population. The union believes he was targeted for expressing his views freely via the media.

"We urge the Somali federal authorities to conduct a full and impartial investigation into Warsame Shire Awale's death and the ongoing killings of journalists in order to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice. Justice delayed is justice denied," said NUSOJ Secretary General Omar Faruk Osman.

Warsame Shire Awale worked as a comedic commentator at Radio Kulmiye and was well-known for entertaining the audience of the FM radio station. He was also a singer-songwriter and a member of the Onkod singers musical group.

In a separate incident, on the evening of 28 October radio journalist Mohamed Mohamud, aka Turyare, died as a result of gunshot injuries sustained a week earlier.

Mohamed Mohamud, 22, who was a producer and webmaster for Radio Shabelle, was attacked on 21 October as he was on his way to his home in Mogadishu. Two men with pistols reportedly fired at the journalist and three bullets struck him in the stomach. The journalist was immediately admitted to Mogadishu's Madina hospital and his wounds were not considered to be life-threatening, according to his doctors. His situation, however, suddenly deteriorated on 27 October and plans were made to send him abroad for more extensive medical treatment. Sadly, he passed away at around 20:15 hrs on 28 October.

Mohamed Mohamud and Warsame Shire Awale, respectively, are the seventeenth and eighteenth media workers killed in Somalia in 2012.


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