MOGADISHU - A Somali journalist died in Mogadishu Saturday after a bomb believed to have been attached to his car was remotely detonated, police and witnesses said.
The victim, prominent local journalist Yusuf Keynan, was working with Mustaqbal radio, a private Mogadishu FM station, and also contributed to the Nairobi, Kenya-based UN humanitarian radio Ergo. ‘It was a local journalist who was targeted in the attack. The bomb attached under the seat of his car went off, leaving him dead,’ Somali police official Abdi Garane said.
‘It was horrible. The severed dead body of the journalist was burned beyond recognition inside his car. I don’t know why they have targeted him,’ said Hassan Idle, an eyewitness to the attack. Somali security forces sealed off the area to investigate the incident, the second killing of a journalist in Mogadishu this year.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Mogadishu has been hit by a string of attacks by the country’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels, who are fighting to overthrow the war-torn country’s fragile internationally-backed government.
Recent Shebab attacks have targeted key areas of government, or the security forces, in an apparent bid to discredit claims by the authorities and African Union troops that they are winning the war against the Islamist fighters. On Wednesday a student doctor was killed and seven others wounded in a bombing at Keysansey hospital in northern Mogadishu, which is run by the Somali Red Crescent Society with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). That attack also involved a bomb being attached to a car. The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) said it was ‘deeply shocked’ by what it called a ‘senseless murder of the Somali humanitarian journalist.’
The victim was among the winners of 2013 Somali Media Awards organised by NUSOJ and the United Nations. ‘We condemn the heinous murder of our colleague and call for prompt investigations into the case,’ NUSOJ Secretary General Mohamed Ibrahim said. ‘We demand the killers be brought to justice.’