Nairobi, November 19, 2014—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland to do their utmost to arrest and prosecute the killers of a Somali journalist and identify the motive behind the murder.
Two unknown gunmen shot Abdirisak Ali Abdi multiple times at a restaurant in the northern suburb of Galkayo town, then fled the scene, according to news reports. Abdirisak died while receiving treatment for his injuries at Mudug General Hospital, local journalists told CPJ. Police were investigating the attack, news reports said.
Abdirisak worked as a reporter and newscaster for the privately owned broadcaster Radio Daljir and a reporter for the Nairobi-based HornCable TV.
Local journalists told CPJ they could not specify a story that could have led to Abdirasak’s murder, but said that Abdirasak covered local politics in Puntland, including last year’s elections. According to a report by the independent Dalsan Radio, shortly before his death Abdirasak told a friend on Facebook that he feared for his life. The report did not elaborate.
“CPJ calls on authorities to conduct an efficient investigation into the murder of Abdirasak Ali Abdi, identify the motive, and hold the perpetrators responsible,” said CPJ East Africa Representative Tom Rhodes. “Galkayo is one of the most dangerous places in Somalia for journalists, and Radio Daljir and its staff remain vulnerable so long as the cycle of impunity is allowed to perpetuate.”
Radio Daljir’s Galkayo station has been targeted repeatedly in recent years. Unknown assailants threw grenades at the station in Galkayo in 2011 and 2013. The station’s premises were damaged both times, and one security guard was injured, the journalists said. In May 2012, unidentified gunmen killed Farhan Jeemis Abdulle, a producer, editor, and host for Radio Daljir, as he walked home from work at the station, according to news reports. Local journalists said at the time that they suspected Al-Shabaab insurgents had killed Farhan in connection with his coverage of a program that encouraged young people to lay down their guns. His murder has not been solved.
At least two other journalists have been killed in Galkayo since early 2012, according to CPJ research. Ali Ahmed Abdi, a freelance journalist, was shot in the head in March 2012. Liban Abdullahi Farah, a correspondent for Kalsan TV, was killed by gunmen in Galkayo in July 2013. Their murders were never solved.