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Page last updated at 07:07 GMT, Monday, 9 June 2008 08:07 UK

Funeral for BBC Afghan reporter

Abdul Samad Rohani
Abdul Samad Rohani

An Afghan journalist working for the BBC in the country's southern Helmand province has been buried a day after he was found shot dead.

Abdul Samad Rohani had been abducted on Saturday and his body was found on Sunday afternoon in Lashkar Gah.

The BBC paid tribute to Rohani, saying his "courage and dedication have been a key part of the BBC's reporting from Afghanistan in recent years".

Rohani was the Pashto service reporter for the BBC World Service in Helmand.

The province has seen some of the worst recent violence of the Taleban-led insurgency.

Condemned

Rohani's body was taken from the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, to his nearby home district of Marja where he was buried in the village cemetery.

Several hundred people, including the province's governor, attended the funeral.

On Sunday night, the Afghan government condemned his killing and said he had been "martyred for carrying out the holy job of reporting".

Police said they did not know who had abducted and killed Rohani. They said they were investigating the matter.

A BBC statement said Rohani's "bravery - and that of his colleagues - have allowed us to tell a key story for audiences in the UK, in Afghanistan and around the world".

It added: "His death is a terrible loss - our thoughts are with his friends and family. We are working closely with his family to support them at this difficult time."

The Governor of Helmand province, Golab Mangal, has said that a six-member team of police and security experts is to investigate the killing.

He said he was hopeful that they would find those responsible for it.

He denied reports that the journalist was abducted in Lashkar Gah before being shot.

He said the journalist had travelled outside the city before being reported missing.

Journalists have held gatherings in towns and cities across Afghanistan to condemn Rohani's killing and have called for the arrest of his killers.

There have been a number of attacks on journalists in Afghanistan this year and the Kabul-based South Asia Media Commission says five Afghan journalists were killed in 2007.

It was the second death of a BBC journalist over the weekend.

Gunmen in Kismayo, southern Somalia, killed Nasteh Dahir, who worked for the BBC and the Associated Press news agency, on Saturday.



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