The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, Ambassador Boubacar Diarra has urged Somalia’s newly elected authorities to do more to protect journalists and promote the right to free expression following a string of assassinations of Somali journalists in Mogadishu.
“The Somali government and police must urgently institute credible investigations into these killings and ensure that the perpetrators of these atrocious acts are brought to justice,” he said adding that the African Union Mission in Somalia was ready and willing to help with any investigations.
While sending his condolences to the family and friends of the murdered journalists, Ambassador Diarra reaffirmed AMISOM’s commitment to helping the Somali National Security Forces enhance security in the capital.
“AMISOM has been helping to train the core of a rejuvenated national army and police force for Somalia. We have recently deployed two Formed Police Units –the first in the history of the African Union‐ to Mogadishu to help mentor and train Somali National Police officers.” Said Ambassador Diarra. “Freedom of expression is a precious tool that can be used by the Somali journalists to free the Somali people from the oppression and tyranny of Al‐Shabaab, and can help build the foundation of a free and just society. This is a fundamental right that the Somali authorities must protect, especially at the dawn of this new era.” He added.
Abdirahman Mohamud Ali, an online journalist working for a Somali‐owned website was beheaded and his body dumped on a street in northern Mogadishu on Thursday and Ahmed Abdullahi Fanah was also killed on Friday bringing the number of journalists killed this week to five.
Another three journalists lost their lives when two suicide bombers from the Al Qaeda‐affiliated terror group, Al‐Shabaab, blew themselves up at a Mogadishu restaurant last week, killing at least 14 people. The country’s journalists have long topped the list of targets for the extremist militants. So far, this year, 15 have been murdered while more than 20 have been injured.