Abdiqadir Hassan Yusuf

Beats Covered:
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Abdiqadir Hassan Yusuf, also known as Arabey, was one of at least 26 people who died on December 22, 2018, in twin bomb attacks in Mogadishu, according to media reports. Abdiqadir was a driver with the privately owned Universal TV and he died alongside three of his colleagues—a journalist and two bodyguards—according to media reports and a statement from UNESCO.

Abdiqadir and his colleagues died at the scene of the first attack, according to a journalist familiar with the case who spoke to the Committee to Protect Journalists on the condition that he not be named for fear of retaliation.

Abdiqadir and the two bodyguards, Mohamed Dubad Gajow and Ibrahim Mohayadin Ahmed, had been assigned to work with Universal TV political show host and news anchor Awil Dahir Salad, who frequently traveled with bodyguards out of concern that his high-profile job put him at risk of attack, according to the same journalist.

The four Universal TV employees were driving through a military checkpoint near the presidential palace in Mogadishu when the first car bomb went off, according to a statement from the government-recognized National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) and the journalist familiar with the case. They were in an unmarked company car, headed to the Universal TV studios, which are about 300 meters away from the checkpoint, according to the journalist. A second car bomb went off near the first attack shortly afterwards, according to media reports.

The Associated Press reported that the militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for both attacks, which “appeared to target people heading to work on what was a business day” in Mogadishu.

It is unlikely that Abdiqadir and his colleagues were directly targeted, according to the same journalist and the NUSOJ secretary general, Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, who both told CPJ that it was more likely that they were “at the wrong place, at the wrong time.”

Abdiqadir and the two bodyguards had worked with Universal TV for at least five years, according to the journalist who asked not to be named.

Al-Shabab is responsible for numerous attacks within Somalia and across the region, according to media reports and research by the International Crisis Group, a conflict prevention and resolution organization. The Somali government blames al-Shabab for the country’s deadliest terror attack, which took place in 2017 and claimed at least 500 lives, including at least one journalist, according to media reports and CPJ research.

According to a December 22 tweet from the unverified account of Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency, authorities had detained two people in connection to the attacks. CPJ was unable to independently corroborate these reports.

A January 13, 2019, email sent to Abdirahman Yusuf Al-Adala, the director general of the Somali federal ministry of information, went unanswered, as did two phone calls and text messages to police commissioner Bashir Abdi Mohammed.