June 23, 2006, in Mogadishu, Somalia
An Associated Press reporter who witnessed the murder said the gunman came up from behind Adler and shot him in the back at close range before disappearing into the crowd. Adler died instantly. He was covering a demonstration organized by the Islamic Courts Union, which seized control of Mogadishu on June 5 from warlords backed by the United States. Several reports said he was filming demonstrators burning U.S. and Ethiopian flags. The National Union of Somali Journalists reported that Adler was standing in the crowd, not in the heavily guarded area where many other journalists and Islamic courts leaders were standing.
The rally, attended by thousands, was in support of a peace agreement reached June 22 in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, between the Islamic courts and Somalia's transitional government. Demonstrators also protested against suggestions that foreign peacekeepers be sent to Somalia, according to the BBC. Anti-foreigner sentiment had been stoked by reports that some warlords had gotten CIA financing to help capture suspected al-Qaeda members in Somalia. International journalists had been stoned and harassed while reporting on demonstrations, AP said.
In a statement, Britain's Independent Television News company called Adler "a long-term friend" who had "contributed outstanding journalism and filmmaking." Adler won many international awards, including the 2001 Amnesty International Media Award, a Silver Prize for investigative journalism at the 2001 New York Film Festival, and the 2004 Rory Peck Award for hard news for a report that that exposed abuses by U.S. troops in Iraq. He had worked in more than two dozen war zones, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Rwanda, Congo, and Sierra Leone.
Adler was born in Stockholm of Anglo-Swedish parents, according to the Web site of the Rory Peck Trust. He left a wife and two daughters in Sweden.
BBC correspondent Kate Peyton, one of several foreign reporters who entered the country to cover the peace process in 2005, was shot dead in Mogadishu in January 2005. Six months later, local radio journalist Duniya Muhyadin Nur was shot dead while covering a protest near the capital. Adler was the 14th journalist killed in Somalia since the fall of former dictator Siad Barre in 1991, according to CPJ research. The country has had no effective central government since that time.
Beats Covered: Human Rights, Politics
Local or Foreign: Foreign
Type of Death: Murder
Suspected Source of Fire: Criminal Group
Taken Captive: No