Somali journalist dies after suicide bomber targets café

Nairobi, September 14–Somali broadcast journalist Abdullahi Osman Moalim died yesterday from injuries sustained on September 10 when a suicide bomber attacked a café in Beldweyne where members of the press gather, Somalia’s Minister of Information, Abdirahman Omar Osman, and the journalist’s colleagues, told CPJ.

Abdullahi, who worked with the privately owned station Radio Codka Hiiraan and the state-owned broadcaster Jubbaland TV, suffered head injuries after being struck by shrapnel in the attack, according to Hassan Aweis, the director of the Mogadishu section of Jubbaland TV. Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, a Somali journalist, told CPJ that Abdullahi, 24, and a group of other journalists were waiting in the café for a press briefing that was due to take place in the nearby office of the governor of Hiiraan region.

Two other journalists, who also work for Radio Codka Hiiraan and other media outlets, were injured in the attack, according to Ismail Sheikh Khalifa, secretary-general of the Somali Media Association. Abdi Shakur Mohamed Hassan, who also works for Star FM Radio and Saab TV, and Abdulkadir Omar Ibrah, who is also a correspondent for RTN TV and Simba Radio, sustained minor injuries and have been discharged from the hospital, Ismail said.

Journalists in Somalia often congregate in restaurants and cafés near political offices while they wait for press conferences or to interview officials, Ismail told CPJ.

“The killing of Abdullahi Osman Moalim and the injuries of two other journalists underscore that Somalia remains an extremely hostile environment for the press,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal, in New York. “We call on authorities to do everything in their power to investigate this suicide attack and curb the cycle of violence.”

At least three people were killed and over 10 injured in the attack, according to reports. The militant group Al Shabaab released a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, according to reports.

Al Shabaab frequently targets places where journalists gather, CPJ has found. At least 62 journalists have been killed in relation to their work in Somalia since 1992, many of them in bombings, making it one of the world’s most dangerous places to be a reporter, according to CPJ research.