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Somali journalist killed in Kismayo
MOGADISHU, Somalia, 7 June 2008 - Gunmen in southern Somalia fatally shot a local journalist who had been a contributor to various news organizations including The Associated Press and the British Broadcasting Corp., his wife and a doctor said Saturday.
Nasteex Dahir Farah, 26, was shot several times in the chest in the southern port city of Kismayo, said Dr. Mohamed Aden Dheel of Kismayo Hospital. He died at the hospital, Dheel said.
"His death is the total destruction of my life," Farah's wife, Idil Farey, told the AP. She is six months pregnant with the couple's second child, she said. Their oldest child, a son, is 10 months old.
Somalia, which has been mired in chaos and violence since 1991, is among the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. At least nine other journalists have been killed in Somalia since February 2007, according to Amnesty International.
Farah, who was the vice chairman of the National Union of Somali Journalists, had occasionally contributed news reports, photographs and television footage for the AP from Kismayo since 2006. He was not known to be working on a story on Saturday.
In a statement, the journalists' union condemned what it termed "the targeted assassination" and said Farah had received anonymous death threats.
"There is no authority in Somalia that (provides) justice and no one is protecting journalists," the group's secretary-general, Omar Faruk Osman, said in the statement.
"This deplorable, senseless killing of a courageous journalist is another sign of the fragility of press freedoms in Somalia and too many other countries around the world," said John Daniszewski, AP's managing editor for international news. "Our hearts go out to Farah's wife Idil Farey, their infant son, and to his many friends and colleagues in Kismayo, Mogadishu and elsewhere."
The BBC, in a statement from its London headquarters, extended condolences to the family.
"We are shocked by what has happened and are trying to ascertain further information," the statement said.
The Somali Coalition for Freedom of Expression, a Somali journalists' organization, urged reporters in the country "to be extremely vigilant."
Ahmed Said Ali, a nurse at the hospital where Farah died, said Farah told the medical staff that two men shot him with AK-47s. He said he fell in front of the gate to his house, according to Ali.
Ali said that Farah bled to death while the medical staff waited for the arrival of a doctor to perform surgery.
Farah contributed an essay on the dangers of working in Somalia to a Spring/Summer 2008 publication by the Committee to Protect Journalists, called 'Dangerous Assignments.' He wrote about Somali journalist Hassan Kafi Hared, who was killed by a land mine in January.
"Although answers about his death are sadly elusive, this one thing is certain," Farah writes. "Every day, his colleagues and family remember Hassan and what he made of his life."Source: AP