Unknown Attackers kill Puntland Journalist

Police in Puntland, a semi-autonomous region in Somalia, have been instructed to investigate the killing of Abdirisak Said Osman, a reporter and photographer with the privately owned radio station Codka Nabada.

A statement  from the Media Association of Puntland (MAP) and Codka Nabada say Abdirisak died on September 19 in the city of Galkayo while receiving treatment for injuries sustained in a September 18 attack.  MAP says Abdirisak was on his way home from work when he was attacked by a group of unknown people at around 11:00 p.m. on September 18. Police told MAP that the journalist was stabbed with knives and beaten with sticks and died of internal bleeding, according to the same statement.

Director of Codka Nabada Radio Ahmed Mohamed Ali says the motive for the attack against Abdirisak is still unclear, but he said the journalist had recently reported a series of stories on insecurity in Galkayo, interviewing members of the public on their concerns about criminal gangs and terrorists. Some of those interviewed by Abdirisak had identified militant group Al Shabaab as the cause of insecurity in the area. However, Ahmed said he does not know whether the attack on Abdirisak was connected to this reporting, saying that investigations are still ongoing.

The Media Association of Puntland said it rejected “conclusions or assumptions” that the attackers were “bandits,” pointing out that the journalist’s phone had not been stolen. The organization has urged authorities to investigate “whether his profession could have been the motive.”

“Authorities in Puntland must leave no stone unturned in investigating the killing of Abdirisak Said Osman. They should quickly establish if his work as a journalist was in any way connected to his death and prosecute those responsible,” CPJ’s  Muthoki Mumo said in a statement issued following the incident.

Deputy Commander of Puntland’s Criminal Investigations Department, Osman Abdi Yusuf confirmed that six people have been arrested in connection to the attack on Abdirisak, but did not provide substantial comment on the case or the motive of the attack, saying investigations are still ongoing.

Research shows that Somalia, including semi-autonomous Puntland and the breakaway region of Somaliland, has some of the highest levels of impunity for murders of journalists.

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