Suffolk BBC woman shot dead

A BBC producer who grew up in Suffolk has died after she was shot in the back while working in Somalia.Kate Peyton, 39, had just arrived in the country with BBC reporter Peter Greste to make a series of reports.

A BBC producer who grew up in Suffolk has died after she was shot in the back while working in Somalia.

Kate Peyton, 39, had just arrived in the country with BBC reporter Peter Greste to make a series of reports.

It is believed the shooting occurred outside the Sahafi Hotel in the capital Mogadishu. Mr Greste was unharmed.

A BBC spokesman said Ms Peyton had undergone surgery for a bullet wound and it was reported that she died from internal bleeding.

BBC director of news, Helen Boaden, said: "Kate was one of our most experienced and respected foreign affairs producers who had worked all over Africa and all over the world. She will be greatly missed, both professionally and personally.

"Our thoughts are with her partner, Roger, his daughter, and Kate's mother, brother and sister. We are in touch with the family and are doing everything we can to support them at this terrible time."

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Director general Mark Thompson added: "I am profoundly shocked and saddened by the news of Kate Peyton's death today.

"Kate had worked for the BBC since 1993 and was dedicated to covering news across the African continent. All our thoughts are with her family and friends at this time."

Ms Peyton had worked as a producer and reporter since joining the corporation. She grew up in Suffolk and had been based in Africa for a number of years. Her parents still live in the village of Beyton, near Bury St Edmunds.

She had also worked as a producer and trainer for the South African Broadcasting Corporation in Johannesburg.

She is thought to have been shot in the back by a militiaman, despite being under guard. The gunman was chased but managed to escape in a car, according to witnesses.

The motive for the shooting is not yet known.

Somalia has been ravaged by 14 years of clan in-fighting and there is no recognised central government authority.

Ms Peyton's death "is extremely shocking and extremely tragic," Somali president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed's spokesman Yusuf Ismail said from Kenya where the government is currently based.

There are many militiamen around the Sahafi Hotel because it is where Somali MPs are staying as they assess conditions for relocating the government from Kenya.

The presidential spokesman, quoted by the Associated Press, added: "It is a cowardly act and if the message was to scare the new Somali institutions or the international community, definitely the killers made a very significant mistake."

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