Africa

Journalist killed in shooting attack in Somali capital

A malnourished child from southern Somalia is carried by his mother at a hospital in Mogadishu
Image caption The number of foreign aid workers and reporters has risen as Somalia's food crisis has intensified

A Malaysian journalist has been killed in a shooting in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, security officials said.

Initial reports say African Union peacekeepers opened fire on his vehicle. A security official told the BBC the attack was being investigated.

Noramfaizul Mohd Nor had been on a trip with the aid agency Putera 1Malaysia Club, his employer said. Another reporter was wounded in the incident.

Aid staff have been flooding into the country to help famine victims.

'Long list'

The shooting took place near a busy junction known as Kilometer Four and AU troops were involved, security sources and the aid agency said.

Thirty-nine-year-old Noramfaizul Mohd Nor, a cameraman with Malaysia's national Bernama TV, was accompanying Putera 1Malaysia Club, who were carrying out a humanitarian mission, his employer said in a statement.

The wounded journalist was Aji Saregar Mazlan, Bernama added. The team had been due to travel home on Saturday.

Muhideen Mohamed, who works with the charity, said troops from Amisom - the AU peacekeeping force which was patrolling the city - fired on the journalists as they travelled to the airport, where they were based.

"Amisom killed a Malaysian journalist and injured another between the K4 road junction and Mogadishu airport on Friday," Mr Mohamed, the aid group's local coordinator, told Reuters.

The claim could not be verified and AU officials were not immediately available for comment.

Extended drought is causing a severe food crisis in the Horn of Africa, which includes Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia. Weather conditions over the Pacific means the rains have failed for two seasons and are unlikely to return until October.
An estimated 12 million people in the region are affected by the drought. The UN has declared a famine in six areas of southern Somalia, where it says 750,000 people could die in the coming months in the absence of adequate response.
The humanitarian problem is made worse by conflicts. Militants had lifted a ban on aid agencies operating in parts of southern Somalia, but have since accused Western groups of exaggerating the scale of the crisis and again limited access.
Since the beginning of 2011, around 15,000 Somalis each month have fled into refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia looking for food and water. The refugee camp at Dadaab, in Kenya, has been overwhelmed by more than 420,000 people.
Farmers unable to meet their basic food costs are abandoning their herds. High cereal and fuel prices had already forced them to sell many animals before the drought and their smaller herds are now unprofitable or dying.
The refugee problem may have been preventable. However, violent conflict in the region has deterred international investment in long-term development programmes, which could have reduced the effects of the drought.
Development aid would focus on reducing deforestation, topsoil erosion and overgrazing and improving water conservation. New roads and infrastructure for markets would help farmers increase their profits.
The result of climate conditions, conflict and lack of investment is that millions of people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are currently existing on food rations in what is said to be East Africa's worst drought for 60 years.
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There has been an increase in the number of foreign aid workers and journalists arriving as the country's food crisis intensified and parts of the country was declared a famine.

The region's crisis is said to be the most serious on the continent since the famine in Somalia in 1991-1992, which led to a civil war from which it is yet to emerge.

Tens of thousands are believed to have died in Somalia and neighbouring countries.

War-torn Somalia has not had a functioning government for more than 20 years.

Last month, Islamist rebel group al-Shabab pulled out of their bases in the capital, as part of what it said was a "tactical retreat".

Media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) rank Somalia as the deadliest country in Africa for media personnel, with 23 media workers killed since 2007.

"Nor joins the long list of journalists killed in the course of their work in Somalia," the group said in a statement.

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