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Veteran Somali journalist killed in Mogadishu fighting

By Les Neuhaus, CNN
Burkhat Awale Adnan was an experienced radio journalist who was hit by bullets while helping  to fix a transmitter on a roof.
Burkhat Awale Adnan was an experienced radio journalist who was hit by bullets while helping to fix a transmitter on a roof.
  • He is killed while covering fierce fighting between rebels and government forces
  • Renewed fighting has gone on for three days
  • Somalia is one of the most dangerous places for journalists
  • Somalia
  • Al Shabaab

(CNN) -- An experienced radio journalist was killed during crossfire between Islamist rebels and government forces in Somalia's capital, a journalist rights group said.

Barkhat Awale Adan, 60, was killed Tuesday afternoon while covering fierce fighting between Al Shabaab rebels and Somalia's government forces.

Adan was on top of Hurma Radio station's roof in Mogadishu, helping fix a transmitter when a stray bullet hit him in the stomach, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

He was rushed to a local hospital where he was confirmed dead, the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) said on its website.

Renewed fighting between the transitional federal government and Al Shabaab rebels started Monday and continued into Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We send our deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of Barkhat Awale," Tom Rhodes, CPJ's East Africa consultant, said in a statement. "Both sides of the conflict have shown no regard for the lives of journalists and other civilians. We call on African Union troops and Al Shabaab to safeguard the lives of journalists."

Somalia ranked as the second-most dangerous country in the world in 2009 for journalists, according to the CPJ, with nine journalists losing their lives there that year.

Adan was the second journalist killed in Somalia in 2010.

Sheikh Nur Mohamed Abkey, another radio journalist, was also killed in Mogadishu in early May.

"The violence in Mogadishu has made it extremely dangerous for media professionals to carry out their work without falling victim to the ever-flying bullets and widespread criminality," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ secretary general. "We have lost, yet again, another veteran journalist courtesy of the raging hostilities."

Adan had been a journalist for 30 years, serving as director of Hurma Radio over the past four years, NUSOJ said.

Somalia has long been treacherous for both Somali and international journalists.

In June 2006, Martin Adler, a Swedish cameraman and journalist, was shot dead by an assailant with a pistol during a packed rally in Mogadishu.

In February 2005, Kate Peyton, a British senior producer for the British Broadcasting Company, was killed when an attacker walked up and shot her in front of her hotel, also in Mogadishu.

Somalia has not had an operational government since 1991, when then-President Mohamed Siad Barre's military junta was overthrown.

Somalia was ranked in 2009 and 2010 as the worst failed state in the world, according to Foreign Policy magazine's annual index. Chad and Sudan, respectively, round out the top three failed states.