Somali people carry the coffin of journalist Hassan Osman Abdi, who was killed on Saturday evening. (AFP/Mohamed Abdiwahab)
Somali people carry the coffin of journalist Hassan Osman Abdi, who was killed on Saturday evening. (AFP/Mohamed Abdiwahab)

Somali journalist shot, killed by unknown gunmen

New York, January 30, 2012The Committee to Protect Journalists is saddened by Saturday’s murder of a Somali journalist and calls on authorities to investigate the killing immediately and bring those responsible to justice.

On Saturday evening, two unidentified gunmen shot Hassan Osman Abdi, director of the Shabelle Media Network, outside his home in the capital, Mogadishu, local journalists told CPJ. Abdi, who was known by his nickname “Fantastic,” died on his way to a local hospital, according to news reports.

Abdi had worked for Radio Shabelle for three years before becoming director of the media network in 2011, according to CPJ research. The radio station has been harassed, threatened, and attacked by security forces for their coverage of local corruption, CPJ research shows. Abdi’s colleagues said they believed his killing was related to his reporting on corruption in Somalia, according to news reports.

Information Minister Abdulkadir Hussein condemned the murder in a statement and called the Shabelle Media Network “one of the most important and pioneering media houses serving the country.” He also said police were investigating and would “not leave a stone unturned,” according to news reports. The African Union offered to assist the government in its investigation, AU spokesman Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda said in a statement.

“Despite incredible challenges, Hassan Osman Abdi kept the Shabelle Media Network in operation as an independent media house in the most dangerous country in Africa to work as a journalist,” said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. “The Committee to Protect Journalists sends its deepest sympathies to Abdi’s colleagues and family for this terrible crime and call on authorities to double their efforts to find the perpetrators of this attack.”

The motive for the shooting was unclear, and no one had come forward to claim responsibility for the attacks, news reports said.

Abdi was the fifth Shabelle Media journalist killed in Somalia since 2007, according to CPJ research. The journalist’s colleagues and family members held a funeral service for him in a village outside of Mogadishu on Sunday morning, local journalists told CPJ. Abdi is survived by his wife and three children.