Mohamed Isse Hassan, a reporter and producer with the privately owned M24 Somali TV, was killed on October 29, 2022, while covering twin bomb blasts in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, according to statements by the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and the Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ), two local press rights groups.
At least 120 people were killed in two car bomb explosions outside the education ministry offices, near the busy Zobe junction in Mogadishu, according to multiple media reports. The Al-Shabaab, a militant group linked to Al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack, according to media reports.
Mohamed, also known as Koonaa, and a colleague, M24 director Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulle, were at the M24 Somali TV offices when the first bomb exploded at around 2 p.m.; both rushed to the scene to report, according to a report by the U.S. Congress-funded Voice of America and Abdiwali Abdullahi Hussein, the M24 Somali TV founder and chief executive officer, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app. The second explosion went off minutes later, as ambulances and other first responders arrived, Abdiwali and other media reports said.
Mohamed died at the scene following severe head injuries, Abdiwali said. Abdulkadir, who also contributes to the VOA, lost two fingers and had shrapnel wounds in his abdomen, the VOA report said. Abdiwali said that Abdulkadir was discharged from the hospital by October 31, 2022.
Another journalist who rushed to the scene following the first blast, Reuters photographer Feisal Omar, was also injured, according to the SJS and FESOJ statements. An October 31, 2022, statement sent to CPJ by a Reuters spokesperson said that Feisal was “fine and recovering at home” but still needed minor surgery to remove “some debris or shrapnel” that hit him in the torso.
Mohamed, who was in his early 30s and is survived by his wife and a six-month-old son, previously worked with various media outlets in Mogadishu, including privately owned Universal Somali TV, where he was a reporter until a few months earlier, according to Abdiwali and Universal Somali TV East Africa director Abdullahi Hersi Kulmiye, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app. Abdullahi said that Mohamed had also worked with the privately owned Somali outlets Radio Simba, Goobjoog Media Group, and Shabelle Media Network. Mohamed also published his reporting on his Facebook page using the brand Koonaa Media, according to CPJ’s review of that page.
Mohamed was not the first journalist to be killed in an Al-Shabaab attack on Zobe junction. On October 14, 2017, journalist Ali Nur Siad was among at least 500 people killed after a truck bomb detonated at the Zobe junction. That attack was attributed to Al-Shabaab, though the group did not claim responsibility, media reports said.
In a telephone call on November 1, 2022, Somali police spokesperson Sadiq Dodishe asked CPJ to send queries via messaging app but had yet to respond to those questions by publication time.