Radio journalist killed in Somalia

A Somali radio journalist, Abdullahi Mire Hashi has been killed by two unidentified gunmen in the town of Elasha Biyaha, some 17km from the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Reports say Abdullahi, the producer and host of a daily show broadcast on the privately owned radio station Darul Sunnahwas shot after attending afternoon prayers at a mosque near his station. Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, secretary-general of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) reported that the gunmen fled the scene immediately after the attack. Human rights organizations, including the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), have called on Somali authorities to immediately investigate Abdullahi’s death and bring to justice the assailants. CPJ’s Africa Representative, Muthoki Mumo says “authorities in Somalia have a solemn duty to investigate the killing of Abdullahi Mire Hashi and bring those responsible to justice.”  Mumo said Somalia continues to rank as the worst country in the world for securing justice in the murders of journalists. “Rigorously investigating these attacks is the key to addressing the environment of fear in which the press operates,” she said.

The radio station for which Abdullahi worked focuses on religious programming. The journalist was host of a show called This Morning on Darul Sunnah, a program that allows listeners to do live call-in and participate in the show’s discussion. Reports say in some of his broadcasts, callers usually complain about the horrible conditions in their communities and the failure of authorities to address their concerns. The show, though described as  non-political, was said to have annoyed some powerful people in power.

Abdullahi Mire Hashi, 26, is the latest victim of the ongoing violence against journalists in Somalia.

Some journalists say Abdullahi had reported to them that he was recently receiving anonymous phone calls questioning why the station, and his show, was not covering Al-Shabaab‘s operations in the region. The town where Abdullahi worked is in an insecure region, where  a military base of the African Union Mission in Somalia has been the site of constant attacks by alleged Al-Shabaab operatives. The Kenyan-based newspaper, The East African reported that no group had taken responsibility for the attack on the journalist, but a police officer who spoke to the Chinese state-owned news agency Xinhua on October 27 says the details about the case were scant. Director General of Somalia’s Federal Ministry of Information, Abdirahman Yusuf Al-Adala told journalists that the attack looked like a terrorist action. He said that the government condemns the killing and the security services are investigating the incident. Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, according to CPJ’s research and records. For the past four years, the country has topped CPJ’s impunity index, which spotlights countries where journalists are killed and their killers go unpunished. The 2018 CPJ index shows that 25 journalists were murdered in Somalia with complete impunity between September 1, 2008 and August 31, 2018.

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