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[Published: Wednesday February 04 2009]

Somalia Radio chief shot dead

Mogadishu, 04 Feb-(ANA)-The director of Somalia's independent HornAfrik radio station, Said Tahlil Ahmed, has been killed in the capital, Mogadishu.

An eyewitness said a group of journalists were attacked on their way to a press conference called by the hardline Islamist militia al-Shabab.

Gunmen escaped from the scene and no-one has claimed responsibility.

Al-Shabab does not support the new president - Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a moderate Islamist - recently elected by MPs as part of a peace process.

Since the announcement of the murder, all radio stations in the capital have been playing Koranic verses.

Analysts say this may be out of respect for Mr Ahmed or possibly because they are frightened of further attacks.

A journalist, who was with Mr Ahmed when he was attacked, said that senior members of Mogadishu's radio stations had been called to a press conference by al-Shabab.

He said they were nearly at the venue in Mogadishu's central Bakara Market when gunmen fired on them.

Mr Ahmed fell to the ground and his attackers approached him and shot him again.

Colleagues say Mr Ahmed was a well-respected journalist who continued working in Somalia after the collapse of Siad Barre's regime in 1991 despite extremely dangerous conditions in the capital.

HornAfrik's owner, Ali Iman Sharmake, and a station presenter, Mahad Ahmed Elmi, were murdered in 2007.

Somalia has not had a functioning central government for nearly two decades and tens of thousands of people have been killed in successive waves of violence.(ANA)

FA/ANA/04 February 2009---

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