Two unidentified gunmen shot and killed Farhan Jeemis Abdulle as he walked home from work in Galkayo, a town in the semi-autonomous Somali region of Puntland, at around 8 p.m. on May 2, 2012, local journalists told CPJ. The assailants shot him three times in the back and once in the hand, those journalists said.
Farhan started working with the local broadcaster Radio Daljir in 2006 as a reporter, and later worked as a producer, editor, and host. He was also a correspondent for the Mogadishu-based Simba Radio.
Farhan’s colleagues told CPJ the journalist had received unspecified threats from an anonymous caller a few days before the attack. Local journalists said they suspected Al-Shabaab insurgents had killed Farhan for his coverage of the conflict between insurgent groups and government-allied forces in Somalia.
At the time, no one claimed responsibility for the attack. Farhan was survived by a wife and three children.
On April 21, 2021, a military court in Galkayo handed death sentences to eight men convicted of being members of the militant group Al-Shabaab and carrying out attacks in Puntland, according to Radio Daljir and other media reports.
Radio Daljir reported that one of the men, Jamaac Muriidi Huseein Mohamed, had confessed to killing Farhan while another, Sahal Mohamed Jama, reportedly confessed to killing another Radio Daljir journalist, Abdirizak Ali Abdi, also known as Silver, who was shot dead in Galkayo in 2014.
The eight were executed by firing squad on June 27, 2021, according to Mumin Abdi Shire, the regional police commander, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app. Mumin did not respond to CPJ’s follow-up messages asking if police were seeking additional suspects in connection to Farhan’s killing.
According to research by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, Somalia’s military courts, which try a broad range of cases including against civilians, fall short of fair trial standards, including by trying minors; failing to afford defendants adequate legal counsel; and relying on forced confessions. CPJ has also documented due process breaches in cases of journalists who have been tried by Somalia’s military courts, including in Puntland.
Radio Daljir’s management told CPJ, on condition of anonymity due to safety concerns, that it believes the court had convicted the men “directly” responsible for Farhan and Abdirizak’s killings. The management said it believes that justice had been served even though questions about additional accomplices are unanswered and that the possible masterminds and financiers of the attacks are likely to remain unknown.
CPJ did not receive a response to August 2021 emails sent to Puntland’s state house, and government spokesperson Jama Depereni did not respond to WhatsApp messages requesting comment, including on whether officials were seeking additional suspects in connection to the killings of Farhan and Abdirizak. A person who answered the phone when CPJ called the Puntland ministry of information requested that queries be sent via email. In response to that email, an official at the ministry referred CPJ to Puntland’s ministry of security.
In a September 4 email responding to CPJ’s queries about cases of journalists killed in Galkayo, Mohamed Iman, director general of Puntland’s ministry of security, declined to discuss specifics of investigations, saying that the government’s security measures did not allow this. He said those convicted of killing journalists had been brought to justice, without specifying whether this included Abdirizak and Farhan’s case. Mohamed Iman said the government was committed to protecting its citizens, including journalists, and invited CPJ to visit Puntland for more details about ongoing investigations. He did not respond to a follow-up email from CPJ requesting more information.