October 19, 2007 / 9:24 PM / 11 years ago

Somali journalist gunned down in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Unknown attackers shot dead the acting head of an independent radio station at his home on Friday in the latest attack on a journalist in the Somali capital, the victim’s employer said.

The killing of Bashir Nur Gedi brings to eight the number of journalists murdered this year in the Horn of Africa country, where reporters routinely face harassment, imprisonment and mortal danger.

"The acting chairman of Radio Shabelle, Bashir Nur Gedi, was shot dead by unknown men armed with pistols while sitting in front of his house," Radio Shabelle’s acting director Jafar Kukay told Reuters.

Government troops last month opened fire on Shabelle’s Mogadishu offices and, in a separate incident, rounded up 18 employees for questioning.

Shabelle, involved in radio, web sites and news photographs, was one of three independent broadcasters, including HornAfrik and IQK Koranic radio, that were shut down and taken off the air in January and June.

A landmine blast in August killed the co-founder of HornAfrik and slightly wounded a Reuters journalist as they rode back together from the funeral of a slain journalist colleague.

The government has had rocky relations with independent media outlets since taking Mogadishu back from a militant Islamist movement over the New Year, with the help of the Ethiopian military.

Media watchdogs accuse the government, the 14th attempt at establishing central rule since anarchy set in after the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, of routinely violating press freedoms.

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