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Over 30 journalists killed with impunity in Somalia, S. Sudan and Nigeria

Over 30 journalists killed with impunity in Somalia, S. Sudan and Nigeria

Africa

Murder cases of 24 journalists in Somalia alone, five in South Sudan and five in Nigeria since 2006 have remained unsolved by the country’s justice system.

These figures place Somalia as the country with the most unsolved murder cases of journalists in the 2016 Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Global Impunity Index released on Thursday. South Sudan ranked 5 and Nigeria ranked 12 among the 13 countries on the index.

“Somalia’s use of military courts and the death penalty in murder cases has raised concerns among human rights advocates about lack of due process and harsh sentences,” the index said in relation to December 2015 prosecution of suspects through the military courts in connection to six journalist murders.

“Three men received the death penalty; the others, prison terms ranging from 15 years to life,” the report added.

For South Sudan, the five journalists were attacked in January 2015 “shot, attacked with machetes, and set on fire in an ambush in Western Bahr al Ghazal state. The journalists were in a politician’s convoy,” the index stated.

Nigeria also failed to identify or prosecute culprits and perpetrators in the murder of the five journalists in the past 10 years “some of which allegedly involved police and security forces.”

Both Nigeria and Somalia made progress for responding to the most recent UNESCO request for the judicial status of journalist killings while South Sudan made no progress.

The 2016 Global Impunity Index combined data from the 13 countries accounting for 80 percent of the unsolved murders worldwide during the 10-year period ending August 31, 2016.

Only 3 percent of total murder cases over the decade had full justice, including the prosecution of the masterminds.

According to the index, 25% of murder suspects are government or military officials and 40% are political groups, including extremists such as Islamic State.

The Index calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population. Only those nations with five or more unsolved cases were included.