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Somali journalist stabbed; 2nd attack in less than a week

  • Story Highlights
  • Radio director seriously wounded by stabbing at a tribal meeting in Somalia
  • Journalists' union says attacker is known, calls on clan elders to punish him
  • Three days earlier, another journalist was shot and killed in Mogadishu
  • Attacks follow U.N. official's remark suggesting Somali media incite violence
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(CNN) -- A Somali journalists' union on Sunday condemned the multiple stabbing of a radio director -- the second targeted attack on a Somali journalist in less than a week.

Said Tahlil Ahmed was killed on Wednesday.  Three days later, another Somali journalist was attacked.

Said Tahlil Ahmed was killed on Wednesday. Three days later, another Somali journalist was attacked.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) demanded the clan elders of the "known attacker" punish him for the attack, which left radio director Hassan Bulhan Ali seriously wounded.

On Saturday, the attacker stabbed Hassan Bulhan five times in the stomach and heart during a tribal reconciliation meeting in the central town of Abudwaq, located in the Galgadud region, according to NUSOJ. Hassan Bulhan, 38, is the director of Radio Abudwaq.

Three days earlier, gunmen shot and killed Said Tahlil Ahmed, the director of independent HornAfrik Radio in Mogadishu, in a brazen attack in broad daylight.

A journalist who was with Tahlil at the time of the killing said the gunmen were from the Islamist militia Al-Shabaab.

Tahlil was on his way to a meeting called by Al-Shabaab when he was attacked. The gunmen also threatened the journalist who witnessed the attack. That journalist declined to disclose his name for security reasons.

The attacks come after a comment by the top United Nations official in Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, who compared the role of Somali media with the infamous Rwandan radio station that was used to incite participation in the 1994 genocide in that country.

Ould-Abdallah's remarks on a February 3 Voice of America interview drew the condemnation of Human Rights Watch, which called on him to immediately retract his statement.

The U.N. official had reacted angrily to allegations that African Union troops had indiscriminately fired on Somali civilians after their convoy was struck by a roadside bomb on February 2. HRW has also called for an independent investigation into that incident, which killed at least 13 people -- most of them civilians.

"What happened is to divert attention from what is going on here, and as usual to use the media to repeat Radio Mille Colline, to repeat the genocide in Rwanda," Ould-Abdallah said in the VOA broadcast.

HRW noted that a day after his comment, Tahlil was shot and killed in Mogadishu. The two events have not been directly linked.

"Somali journalists have paid an enormous price to continue reporting on the crisis in Somalia," said Georgette Gagnon, HRW's Africa director. "The U.N. should be making every effort to support independent Somali media and civil society at this critical time, not comparing journalists to war criminals."

Somali radio stations in Mogadishu recently agreed to take steps to avoid broadcasting any messages of incitement, according to Shabelle Media.

The stations met and agreed not to air live sermons by Muslim clerics or live press conferences or interviews by insurgent groups in an effort to avoid airing their political agendas, according to the Shabelle report. The statements will instead be recorded and "checked and edited," before they are broadcast, it said.

CNN regularly works with Somali journalists who are employed by Shabelle Media.

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