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Somali journalist, human rights lawyers killed in deadliest attack since 2011

Somali women walk past the site of a deadly blast in Mogadishu, 14 April 2013
Somali women walk past the site of a deadly blast in Mogadishu, 14 April 2013

REUTERS/Omar Faruk

ARTICLE 19 condemns the killing of a journalist and two human rights lawyers in a suicide attack on a court complex in Mogadishu on 14 April 2013. Mohamed Hassan Habeeb, a journalist who acted as a media adviser to the Bandir regional court, was killed along with the head of the Somali Lawyers Association, Mohamed Mohamud Afrah and the campaigning human rights lawer, Abdikarin Hassan Gorod.

ARTICLE 19 urges the government to launch a prompt and effective investigation into these attacks, for which the militant group Al Shabaab is reported to have claimed responsibility.

"This is one of the deadliest attacks in Mogadishu since 2011. We send our condolences to the families of those who were killed, including the journalists and the lawyers. We strongly urge the government to ensure justice is done for the victims. An urgent investigation is needed, and those responsible should be brought to justice", said Henry Maina ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa Director.

On Sunday 14 April, two car bombs exploded outside the Mogadishu law courts and gunmen stormed the building. A gun battle followed between the group and the security forces, which lasted for more than two hours. Later, another car bomb exploded at a building housing Somali intelligence whilst Turkish and African Union (AU) vehicles were passing.

No official death toll has been published, but ARTICLE 19's Somali partners estimate over 20 people could have died in the twin attacks.

Journalists and human rights defenders in Somalia are frequently the target of violence.

In 2012, 18 journalists lost their lives in the line of duty.

What other IFEX members are saying
  • Somalia: New Al-Shabaab Attacks are War Crimes

    Lawyers Mohamed Mohamud Afrah and Abdikarin Hassan Gorod had recently represented a woman who faced criminal charges after she alleged that she had been raped by government forces. They also represented a journalist who had interviewed the woman, and also faced charges in a politically motivated trial that received international attention.

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