MOGADISHU — Gunmen shot dead a Somali journalist in the northern town of Lasanod, the latest of a string of murders targeting reporters and taking the toll of those killed this year to 16, colleagues said Wednesday.
Ahmed Farah Ilyas, who was working with the London-based independent Universal television station, was shot several times late Tuesday in the disputed town.
"He was heading home in Lasanod when three men armed with hand guns shot him several times, he died instantly and the gunmen escaped," said colleague Feysal Jama.
Lasanod straddles the border between the self-declared independent state of Somaliland and the semi-autonomous Puntland region. It is controlled by Somaliland authorities, but is a volatile and tense region.
The attack comes a day after gunmen seriously wounded a reporter in Somalia's war-ravaged capital Mogadishu, where reporters have faced repeated attacks.
"We are really shocked because he becomes the first journalist to be killed in Lasanod, something that has happened in Mogadishu looks like it has shifted here now," added Jama.
Local police official Dahir Adan confirmed the killing, and said that while police were investigating the attack, no arrests had been made.
Press rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has called 2012 the "deadliest year" on record for Somalia, surpassing 2009 when nine died.
Several killings are blamed on Al-Qaeda linked Shebab insurgents, but other murders are also believed to be linked to struggles within the multiple factions in power.
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