Nairobi, Kenya, October 31, 2018–Authorities in Somalia should urgently investigate the killing of radio journalist Abdullahi Mire Hashi, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. At least two unidentified gunmen shot Abdullahi in the town of Elasha Biyaha, about 17 km from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on October 27, according to media reports and two local press rights groups.
Abdullahi, the producer and host of a daily show broadcast on the privately owned radio station Darul Sunnah, was shot dead after attending afternoon prayers at a mosque near his station, Ismail Sheikh Khalifa, chair of the advocacy group Human Rights Journalists (HRJ), and Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, secretary-general of the government-recognized National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), told CPJ. The gunmen fled the scene immediately after the attack, Ismail and Mohamed said.
“Authorities in Somalia have a solemn duty to investigate the killing of Abdullahi Mire Hashi and bring those responsible to justice,” said CPJ Sub-Saharan Africa Representative Muthoki Mumo. “Somalia continues to rank as the worst country in the world for securing justice in the murders of journalists. Rigorously investigating these attacks is the key to addressing the environment of fear in which the press operates.”
The radio station for which Abdullahi worked focuses on religious programming. The journalist hosted the show, “This Morning on Darul Sunnah,” during which listeners called in to describe conditions in their part of town. The show was described as “non-political” by Mohamed and Ismail.
Ismail said that at least three local journalists, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal, told him that Abdullahi had said he recently received anonymous phone calls questioning why the station was not covering the militant group Al-Shabaab’s operations in the region.
The town where Abdullahi worked is in an insecure region. A military base for the African Union Mission in Somalia there has been the site of attacks by Al-Shabaab.
An October 28 report by the Kenyan-based newspaper The East African said that no group had taken responsibility for the attack. A police officer who spoke to the Chinese state-owned news agency Xinhua on October 27 said that details about the case were scant.
Abdirahman Yusuf Al-Adala, the director general in the Somali federal ministry of information, told CPJ in an email today that the attack looked like terrorist action. He said that the government condemned the killing and that security services were investigating.
CPJ’s calls, a voicemail, and a text message sent to Bashir Abdi Mohamed, Somalia’s police commissioner, went unanswered.
Somalia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. For the past four years, the country has topped CPJ’s impunity index, which spotlights countries where journalists are slain and their killers go free. The 2018 index shows that 25 journalists were murdered with complete impunity between September 1, 2008 and August 31, 2018.