A last-second phone call spared Hussein's life. His family had paid an $18,000 ransom. After the attack he fled to Uganda, leaving behind his wife and three children.
"I'm the luckiest person in the world. I sometimes feel like I'm in a dream," Hussein said of last year's escape. "I don't think there is someone whose throat was put, like mine, to a sharp knife and survived, especially in Somalia."
Hussein is part of an exodus of African journalists who have fled dangerous conditions in their home countries, according to a report last week by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
African reporters are fleeing their home countries after being assaulted, threatened or imprisoned - often by militants, sometimes even by the government - an exodus that leaves a deep void in professional reporting.
"The starkest examples are in the Horn of Africa nations of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, where dozens of journalists have been forced into exile," said CPJ's Africa Program coordinator Tom Rhodes. "Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and the Gambia have also lost large segments of the local press corps in the face of intimidation and violence."
Nine journalists were killed in Somalia last year, making the country the second deadliest in which to be a journalist, according to the CPJ report. The Philippines was the deadliest country last year, with 32 deaths.
The CPJ report said violence against journalists in Somalia has surpassed hotspots such as Iraq and Afghanistan. It cited an estimate by the Union of Exiled Somali Journalists that 80 Somali reporters have been forced into exile over the last three years. CPJ itself says at least 30 journalists have fled in the last decade.
Hussein may have escaped execution eight months ago in Mogadishu, but now he is afraid of the challenges he faces in Kenya, his current residence.
"I can't dare go back to Somalia. I can't dare stay here. I need advice," said Hussein, who was the southern and central Somali director for the satellite station Universal TV when he was seized last June as he drove to work.
Somalia's chaos has dragged on for nearly two decades. For the last three years, the conflict has pitted Islamist insurgents against the weak, U.N.-backed government forces who are holed up in small area of the capital.
Because of the dangers, few international journalists report from Somalia, depriving it of the international media attention that can shine a light on the severe living conditions many Somalis face.
Just last week, Ali Yusuf Adan of Radio Somaliweyn was abducted by gunmen from the al-Shabab militia after he reported that militants had killed a man for being late to a prayer session, Somaliweyn Radio director Abukar Kalaf said.
Somali journalists as a rule must be extra vigilant when moving around Mogadishu.
"I'm always alert, extra vigilant. I barely leave the well-protected compound of the presidential palace where my office is," said journalist Abdullahi Kulmiye, who works for the government-controlled Radio Mogadishu.
Although fleeing to a foreign country may offer a reprieve, journalists then must navigate cultural, lingual and legal obstacles, said the CPJ report.
Journalist Bashir Diriye Naleye was arrested by the Somali government in 2007 after asking critical questions to former President Abdullahi Yusuf's spokesman. He has since fled to Uganda, leaving behind eight children and a wife.
"I'm leading a miserable life as a refugee in Uganda," said Naleye