Somalia: Two journalists killed in Mogadishu

Regulation & Policy

Two Somali journalists have been killed in the capital Mogadishu in separate attacks within hours of each other. The owner of HornAfrik radio and television, Ali Iman Sharmake, died when his car exploded after apparently running over a landmine. He had just been to the funeral of one of his leading radio presenters, Mahad Ahmed Elmi, shot dead hours earlier. Praising his colleague hours before his own death, Ali Iman Sharmake said: "Elmi was a symbol of neutrality."

Colleagues said Elmi was shot dead by two gunmen close to the radio station on his way to work. Sharmake was hit by what appeared to be a remote-controlled landmine on his way home from Elmi's funeral. Reuters reporter Sahal Abdulle, who was sitting next to him, was lightly injured.

It is unclear who was responsible for the attacks. Sharmake said in his tribute to Elmi, quoted by the Associated Press: "The killing was meant to prevent a real voice that described the suffering in Mogadishu to other Somalis and to the world."

HornAfrik - which also relays BBC Somali service programmes - prides itself on its journalistic independence, and its broadcasts have in the past angered both the government and Islamist opposition. A number of local and foreign journalists have been killed in recent years.

Mogadishu has been the scene for months of skirmishes between troops supporting the transitional government and both clan-based and Islamist insurgents.