Assination of HornAfrik director, Said Tahlil

Mogaidishu – The director of HornAfrik, one of Somalia’s independent leading radio and television stations, was killed by three masked gunmen in the Bakara Market area of Mogadishu on February 4, 2009.

The assailants shot Said Tahlil repeatedly as he and six other senior journalists were walking to a meeting with members of the Al-Shabaab group.

Both international and local journalistic organizations have sent their deepest condolences to Said Tahlil’s family and colleagues at HornAfrik.

“Tahlil and other brave reporters in Mogadishu who continue to work under extremely dangerous conditions must be supported. We call on the new Somali administration make every effort to protect journalists.” Said CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, Tom Rhodes.  Tahlil had been summoned to a meeting with the Al-Shabaab group along with the directors and senior editors of several media houses, journalists in Mogadishu told CPJ. The killers of late Said Tahil were never brought before justice.

Tahlil became director of HornAfrik after the company’s founder, Ali Sharmarke, was killed in an August 2007 roadside bomb attack in Mogadishu. The director was best known for his Friday news program in which he discussed the week’s top issues. He was survived by a wife and eight children.

HornAfrik went off the air on Tuesday; it has not announced when it will resume broadcasting. Other stations in Mogadishu aired verses from the Quran throughout the day on Wednesday.

Somalia, embroiled in civil conflict for most of the past two decades, is one of the deadliest places in the world for the press. Since 2007, 11 Somali journalists have been slain.

Tahlil is the second Somali journalist killed this year and the fourth HornAfrik journalist killed since 2007. On January 1, Radio Shabelle journalist Hassan Mayow was shot dead in Afgoye, a town just outside of Mogadishu.

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