Somali journalist and wife shot dead

Mogadishu - Suspected members of the Islamist group al-Shabaab have killed a Somali journalist and his wife, police said on Thursday.

Daud Ali Omar, 35, who worked for an independent radio station in the southern-central city of Baidoa, and his wife, were shot dead while sleeping by gunmen who entered their home on Wednesday night, local police representative Mahad Mohamed said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but al-Shabaab has frequently targeted journalists in the Horn of Africa country.

Mohamed said the group had staged a string of attacks in Baidoa over the past few months, targeting moderate Islamic scholars and entrepreneurs.

Mohamed Ibrahim from the National Union of Somali Journalists said the killings were "aimed at silencing the freedom of the press and of expression".

Global media watchdog groups consider Somalia as one of the most dangerous countries to work as a journalist.

In 2012, 18 journalists were killed, followed by seven in 2013 and five last year. Omar was the first journalist killed this year.

Earlier this month, photographer Farhan Suleiman Dahir survived an attempted killing by suspected al-Shabaab members in Mogadishu.

Attackers have targeted journalists who wrote about al-Shabaab or about clan rivalries in the Horn of Africa country. Somalia's nearly decade-long battle against al-Shabaab has cost thousands of lives.

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