Somali National TV journalist Ahmed Mohamed Shukur, nicknamed “Socdaal” (“traveler” in Somali) was killed on September 30, 2022, in a roadside bomb blast in the town of Basra, in Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region, according to Facebook and Twitter posts by the state-owned Somali National TV (SNTV) and Abdullahi Amin Mohamud, the broadcaster’s chief editor, who also goes by the nickname Qorshe.
Ahmed – a 26-year-old who worked as a camera operator and reporter – was embedded with security personnel carrying out an operation to take territory from the militant group Al-Shabaab, according to Abdullahi, who spoke to CPJ via messaging application, and a statement from press rights group the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS).
Several other people were also killed in the explosion, including Mogadishu police chief Farhan Mohamud Adan, also known as Qarole, according to multiple media reports and a statement from Somalia’s federal ministry of information. Abdullahi told CPJ that, based on witness reports, Ahmed was standing near the police chief recording footage when the explosion happened. The journalist died at the scene, Abdullahi said.
Abdullahi told CPJ he was unsure of the nature of the explosive used in the attack, although some witnesses had said it was a landmine; U.S. Congress-funded Voice of America (VOA) also reported that the device was a landmine.
Ahmed was based in Balad District, which is also in Middle Shabelle, and had travelled to Basra to cover the security operation on the day he was killed, according to Abdullahi. His reports for SNTV included local news coverage of events in Balad District in a range of beats including agriculture, security, cultural and social issues, Abdullahi said. The journalist also published news reports on one of his Facebook pages, where he had over 2,000 followers, according to CPJ’s review. Ahmed was survived by three children, who are now living with the journalist’s mother, Abdullahi said.
CPJ sent written queries about investigations into the attack to Somalia’s federal police commissioner Abdi Hassan Mohamed Hijar and his deputy Zakia Hussen via their official Twitter accounts but did not receive a response. Zakia did not respond to queries sent to her phone via text message and messaging application.