War is Boring: Attacks on Somali Media Underscore Lawlessness

On Sunday, gunmen ambushed two of Somalia's most respected journalists, while the two men were walking in Mogadishu's Bakara market. Muktar Mohamed Hirabe, long-time director of Shabelle Radio, was killed; his companion Ahmed Omar Hashi, a senior producer for Shabelle, was wounded in the hand and stomach.

On Monday, World Politics Review spoke to Hashi by phone, from his Mogadishu hospital. He said he didn't know who was behind the attacks, or what their motive might have been. In recent years Somalia's media has been targeted by all of the country's warring parties, including criminal gangs, Islamic extremists from the Al-Shabab group and even the U.S.- and U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government. "They don't want people talking about what is happening in Mogadishu," Hashi said during World Politics Review's November 2007 visit to that city.

Noting that attacks have the effect of "silencing reporting about human rights abuses by all parties to the conflict," on Monday Amnesty International called on the TFG to "open a thorough, prompt and impartial investigation" into the attack. But even if it were willing to investigate, the TFG controls only a few square blocks of Mogadishu and lacks an effective police force.

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