Abdirisak Said Osman died on September 19, 2018, of injuries sustained during a September 18 knife attack in the city of Galkayo, in Puntland, a semi-autonomous region of Somalia, according to a statement by the Media Association of Puntland (MAP).
Abdirisak, a journalist with the privately owned Codka Nabada radio station, was on his way home from work at around 11:00 p.m. when he was attacked by a group of unknown people who beat him with sticks and stabbed him with knives, police told MAP in September. He later died of internal bleeding while receiving treatment at a hospital in Galkayo, according to the same sources.
MAP chairman Mohamed Dahir told CPJ on September 21 and again on September 26 that the motive for the attack was unclear.
Puntland’s deputy commander of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Osman Abdi Yusuf, on September 21, 2018, told CPJ that police had by September 20 arrested six suspects in connection to the killing. However, he declined to provide substantive comment on the motive of the attack, saying that investigations had yet to be concluded. Mohamed Dahir on October 4 told CPJ that police were no longer in charge of the investigation and that it had been transferred to the Puntland Security Forces (PSF), though authorities were still not providing information on the motive of the attack.
Osman Abdi Yusuf on October 11, 2018, told CPJ that the PSF, the semi-autonomous region’s army, also has investigative mandate and that the case had been transferred to them because they have better infrastructural and technological capacity. He said that the CID was still receiving reports on the investigation and would be the one to make decisions on how to act on the findings. Osman told CPJ that the number of suspects arrested in connection to the case had gone up to eight, though none had been brought to court. He declined to comment on the motive of the attack.
In its September 19, 2018, statement, MAP said it rejected "conclusions or assumptions" that the attackers were "bandits," pointing out that the journalist’s phone had not been stolen. The organization urged authorities to investigate "whether his profession could have been the motive."
Codka Nabada director Ahmed Mohamed Ali told CPJ that Abdirisak, 30, had recently covered insecurity in Galkayo, interviewing members of the public on their concerns about criminal gangs and terrorists. The director said that some of those interviewed had identified militant group Al Shabaab as being the cause of insecurity. However, Ahmed in September and early October told CPJ that he did not know whether the attack on Abdirisak was connected to this reporting, saying that investigations were still ongoing.