Somali Journalist Killed

Another journalist has been killed in Somalia. Nasteh Dahir Farah, who worked for the BBC and AP, was shot dead by gunmen in the port city of Kismayo over the weekend. He is the 10th journalist to be killed in Somalia since February 2007.
Farah had written about the dangers of reporting from Somalia in Dangerous Assignments, published by the Committee to Protect Journalists. He contributed a piece following the death of a colleague, Hassan Kafi Hared, who was caught in blast intended for someone else.

I came upon Hassan in the aftermath. He was lying beside the street, bleeding and unconscious. So stunned that I couldn’t take photos of the attack, I stuffed my camera in my pocket and shouted for help. Hassan was rushed to Kismayo General Hospital, but he died within a few minutes of arrival. It was not even clear whether he died as a result of the explosion or from gunshot wounds; both bullet and mine shrapnel wounds were found on his body. He was 38, the father of five.

Farah’s death came days after Human Rights Watch highlighted the dangers for Somali journalists who have been targeted by all sides in the country’s worsening conflict.

Somalia has long been home to a range of thriving independent newspapers and radio stations, many of which continue to report courageously on events across the country. As a result, journalists have been targeted by all sides of the conflict. TFG militias have carried out raids on media outlets and arbitrarily detained journalists who have reported on their numerous failures and abuses. Members of insurgent groups are widely believed to have repeatedly threatened independent journalists with assassination, apparently to coerce them into changing their coverage of events.

Those of us who flit in and out of Somalia owe a heck of a lot to the courage of the Somali journalists who have to put up with death threats, intimidation and the risk of stray bullets on a daily basis. The tragedy is that the rest of the world continues to ignore the humanitarian catastrophe that these brave men do their best to reveal.