Somali rebel group blamed for killing journalist

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The new Somalian president, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a moderate Islamist – recently elected president by MPs at a meeting in neighboring Djibouti last Friday as part of a UN-brokered peace process in the country, has been shown another unwelcomed sign.

In addition to the protests and reactions that has followed his election as president, the director of Somalia’s independent HornAfrik radio station, Said Tahlil Ahmed, a strong supporter of the new president was gunned down yesterday in Mogadishu.

Fingers have quickly pointed at the Islamist rebel group known as Al-Shabab who are openly against the election of the new Somalian president.

Mr Tahil Ahmed was said to have been invited to a press conference by the hardline Islamist militia Al-Shabab. to talk about the situation of the country. Reports say that as Mr. Tahil Ahmed and other journalists arrived at the conference venue in Mogadishu’s central Bakara Market, masked gunmen attacked the vehicle they were in and fired gunshots at them. Mr Ahmed fell to the ground and his attackers approached and shot him again until he was out of lifeblood.

Like Mr. Tahil Ahmed, Journalists have become the targets of many armed groups that roam Somalia, at least over 12 journalists have been killed since 2007, and many more have fled the country. After Tahil Ahmed’s death, civilians and journalists gathered outside the HornAfrik station in Mogadishu guarded by fighters of the Union of Islamic Courts who are loyal to the new regime.

Local radio stations have since been playing Koranic verses, prompting observers to conclude that this action could either be out of respect for Mr Ahmed or fear of more attacks. Al-Shabab has taken advantage of the Ethiopians’ pull-out which was a key part of that peace plan. The Al-Shabab has since boosted their control of the south and have accused the new Somalia president of selling out to the West.

But despite all the fingers pointing at Al-Shabab for the recent murder of the Journalist chief, Tahil Ahmed, a spokesman for the Islamist militia has denied any responsibility for the killing, and vowed to go after those who are behind the killing and bring them to justice.

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