Female Somali Radio Journalist Gunned Down in Mogadishu

A female Somali radio journalist was killed in Mogadishu on Sunday, the latest reporter casualty in a country that is notoriously lethal for media.

Sagal Salad Osman, a presenter and producer for the state-owned Radio Mogadishu, was gunned down in the capital’s Hodon district near the University of Mogadishu, where she was a student. While no group has yet claimed responsibility for her death, “her murder has the hallmarks of yet another targeted killing by Al-Shabaab,” Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a statement on Monday.

Three unidentified gunman shot Osman, according to a police officer who spoke with Reuters, Major Nur Ali.

"She was rushed to hospital but she died on the way,” Ali told Reuters. “They killed her near a college campus where she studied. We believe Al-Shabaab is behind her killing."

Al-Shabaab, a militant group linked to Al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for a number of high-profile mass killings over the past several years, including the Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013 and the Garissa University College attack in Kenya in 2014. In December, Hindia Haji Mohamed, another female Radio Mogadishu reporter, was killed by a car bomb in the city, an attack for which Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility. 

Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, ranking 167 out of 180 countries in the RSF Press Freedom Index. Nearly 60 journalists have been killed in Somalia since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

“Sagal Salad Osman joins the long list of Somali journalists who have been killed in recent years,” RSF said in its statement. “The government must react to the extraordinary level of terrorism and violence that is consuming Somalia. We ask the authorities to conduct a swift and thorough investigation in order to shed light on this appalling murder and bring those responsible to justice.”

Osman was killed the same day as an American journalist for NPR, David Gilkey, and his Afghan interpreter, Zabihullah Tamanna, died in a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan. Osaman, Gilkey and Tamanna were all killed one day before the Newseum in Washington, D.C. rededicated its memorial to fallen journalists. The Newseum said on Monday that Gilkey and Tamanna would be “remembered at this morning’s dedication.”