Mahad Ahmed Elmi

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Prominent journalists Ali Sharmarke and Mahad Ahmed Elmi were killed in Mogadishu in two separate attacks on the same day. Unknown gunmen shot Elmi, director of Capital Voice radio, a private station run by HornAfrik Media, four times in the head at close range as he neared the door of his office early that morning, according to news reports and local journalists. He bled to death after being rushed to the hospital.

Elmi, 30, hosted a popular daily morning talk show in which Mogadishu residents phoned in reports about neighborhood issues such as crime and government security operations.

Sharmarke, founder and co-owner of HornAfrik Media, was killed just hours later after attending Elmi’s funeral. The black Land Cruiser in which he was riding was struck by a remotely detonated landmine, according to the local news reports. None of the more than 20 other vehicles in the funeral procession was hit.

On March 3, 2016, a military court in Mogadishu found former journalist Hassan Hanafi guilty of involvement in the murder of Mahad Ahmed Elmi, as well as the killings of four other journalists. According to news reports, the killings were carried out on behalf of the armed militant group Al-Shabaab. The court sentenced him to death by execution, which in Somalia is usually carried out by firing squad.

Sharmarke, 50, who had dual Canadian and Somali citizenship, was survived by two wives and two children, Horn-Afrik co-manager Mohamed Mohamud Elmi told CPJ. Elmi was survived by a wife and two children, according to news reports.