Global Journalist

Somalia

Third Shabelle Media Network director killed in Mogadishu

A media network director was gunned down as he entered the gate to his home on Jan. 28, 2011. Two men shot five rounds hitting Hassan Osman Abdi in the head and chest at about 6:30 p.m., according to Al Jazeera and National Union of Somali Journalists reports.

The 29-year-old father of three had worked at Shabelle for three years and took over as director in October 2011. Abdi’s colleagues told Al Jazeera they were convinced it is the work of Al-Shabab, an Islamist militant group in opposition to Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

Somali President Sharif Ahmed condemned the killing on Jan. 29 and called it a “senseless murder,” according to CNN. The president continued to say, “It has long been the strategy of groups like Al-Shabaab to target public figures in our society with the aim of spreading fear and panic.”

Abdullahi Hassan Barise, chief of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for the transitional government named no suspects but informed Shabelle on Feb. 1, 2012, that the department would continue it’s investigation for Abdi’s killers.

Abdi is the third Shabelle Media Network director to be slain since 2007. His predecessor Muktar Mohamed Hirabe was killed on June 7, 2009. Hirabe replaced Bashir Nur Gedi, who was killed on October 19, 2007. All three men were targeted either outside or walking from their homes in Mogadishu; all three were fatally wounded by gun shots to the head and chest.

The Shabelle Media Network has gained notoriety for its independent reporting. Reporters Without Borders awarded the network their 2010 Press Freedom Prize for their willingness to risk their lives to evade the stronghold of Al-Shabab, which gained control of 10 other Somali radio stations. The day before Abdi was slain, Shabelle published a story accusing Al-Shabab of beheading three teens in Mogadishu, an act that the network called “the largest mass execution carried out in Somalia by the Al-Qaida-linked group for months.”

In their annual report released Jan. 25, 2011, Reporters Without Borders ranked Somalia 164th out of 179 countries in their Press Freedom Index, and Mogadishu was named one of the 10 most dangerous places for journalists by Reporters Without Borders.

Other updates from Somalia

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