Gunmen kill Kurdish journalist in northern Iraq

By YAHYA BARZANJI, Associated Press Writer 25 minutes ago

Gunmen killed a Kurdish journalist near the northern city of Kirkuk, a police official said Tuesday.

Soran Mama Hama, a reporter for the Kurdish-language magazine Leven, was shot late Monday in the Rasheed Awa village, where many Kurds were forced to relocate when Saddam Hussein sent thousands of Arabs into the oil-rich Kirkuk area to dilute the presence of Kurds and others.

Kirkuk police Brig. Gen. Sarhat Qadir said the motive for the slaying of the 23-year-old journalist was not immediately known.

Reporters Without Borders said Hama had often covered government corruption for the magazine. He had written an article in the latest issue that was about the involvement of Kurdish officials in prostitution rings, according to the Paris-based advocacy organization.

“He wrote hard-hitting articles about local politicians and security officials and had received threats from people telling him to stop his investigative reporting. The authorities should therefore give priority to the theory that he was killed because of his work,” the group said.

The magazine said the killing “took place in a Kurdish area that is supposedly away from the reach of the terrorist gunmen.” It said it held “the Kurdistan presidency, government and parliament accountable” for the killing and demanded an investigation.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 129 journalists and 50 media support workers have been killed since the U.S. invasion in 2003, not including the most recent death.



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