Three Somali journalists were killed and at least four were injured in a suicide bomb attack in a Mogadishu café today, according to news reports and local journalists. The attack took place across the street from the National Theater, where a bomb blast in April wounded at least 10 journalists, news reports said.
Two unidentified men entered “The Village” café at around 5:30 p.m. and detonated bombs, killing a total of 14 people and injuring 20, according to news reports and local journalists. Ali Mohamud Rage, a spokesman for the militant insurgent group Al-Shabaab, said the bombing was carried out by supporters of the group, according to Agence France-Presse. “We did not directly order the attacks, but there are lots of angry people in Somalia who support our fight,” AFP reported Rage as saying.
The café was frequented by the press and civil servants, leading local journalists to speculate they were the targets of the attack. “If anyone wanted to kill journalists en masse, that was the place and the time,” said one journalist who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
The blasts killed Abdirahman Yasin Ali, director of Radio Hamar (“Voice of Democracy”); Abdisatar Daher Sabriye, head of news for Radio Mogadishu; and Liban Ali Nur, head of news for Somali National TV, according to news reports and local journalists.
Somalia National TV reporter Mohamed Hussein, along with three reporters for Radio Kulmiye–Abdullahi Suldan, Abdirisaq Mohamed, and Nour Mohamed Ali–were wounded. The injured journalists have sought treatment at local hospitals. CPJ is monitoring their conditions.
“We offer our deep condolences to the families and colleagues of Abdirahman Yasin Ali, Abdisatar Daher Sabriye, and Liban Ali Nur at this terrible time,” said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. “The senseless slaughter of journalists is continuing in Mogadishu, one of the world’s most dangerous places for the press. We call on the new Somali government to do its utmost to stop these attacks.”
Several people were killed in the attack on the National Theater in April, including two of the nation’s top sports officials, news reports said. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, the reports said.
Somalia is the most dangerous country in Africa to practice journalism, according to CPJ research. The threat of violence has driven more journalists into exile from Somalia than from any other country in the past year, CPJ research shows.