Two Somali gunmen attacked and killed a female radio journalist on the streets of Mogadishu late Sunday, shooting her repeatedly before fleeing the scene.
Rahmo Abdulqadir, a journalist for Radio Abduwaq station, is the third journalist to be killed in Somalia so far this year.
A witness told Capital FM, a Kenyan news station, the two men targeted Abdulqadir, firing five times but leaving her companion alive.
“One of our female staff members was shot and killed in Mogadishu,” said radio station director Abdikarin Ahmed. “We don’t know why she was killed but we are in shock.”
“There was another girl who accompanied the victim but the gunmen did not target her, she ran away screaming for help,” said Issa Mohamed, who witnessed the shooting.
Twelve media workers were killed in Somalia in 2012, by far worst year on record. Although the Somali government has offered a $50,000 reward for information leading directly to the arrest of a journalist killer, no journalist murder has been prosecuted in the country in more than a decade.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom and tracks violence perpetrated against members of the media, Abdulqadir was visiting Mogadishu from the Galgadud district of central Somalia, where Radio Abduwaq is based. It was not immediately clear if any particular stories might have made Abdulqadir a target.
"Despite promising measures set up by the government last month, the number of killed journalists in Somalia continues to grow," said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. "Authorities must double their efforts and ensure security forces in Mogadishu are prepared to ensure the security of all civilians, including journalists."
The CPJ said 2012's 70 journalist deaths tied with 2007 as the second deadliest year for journalists since 1992, when the organization began to keep records of attacks against the media. Seventy-four journalists were killed in 2009.
Syria was the deadliest country for media in 2012, with 28 journalists killed in combat or targeted for murder while covering the civil war there.
Violence has risen in conflict-torn Somalia in the past two years, since ruling Al-Shabaab militants were overthrown and a UN-backed government took power.