Mohamed Sahal Omar

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

On July 12, 2019, SBC Somali TV reporter Mohamed Sahal Omar, also known as Ga’ma Dhere, was one of at least 26 people killed during an attack on a hotel in the southern port city of Kismayo, in Jubbaland region, according to media reports and local press advocates who spoke with CPJ.

Mohamed Dek Abdalla, the director of SBC Somali TV, told CPJ that Mohamed Sahal had gone to the hotel to arrange interviews with politicians who were meeting there in the run-up to the upcoming regional elections.

The attack began with a car bomb, which was followed by gunmen storming the hotel and holding it overnight, according to media reports.

Authorities retook control of the hotel on July 13 and found Mohamed Sahal’s body on the premises with gunshot wounds to the head, according to Federation of Somali Journalists Secretary General Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu and Somali Journalists Syndicate Secretary General Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, who both spoke to CPJ. Both media rights groups have released statements condemning the attack.

Mohamed Sahal, 35, is survived by a widow and four children, according to the Somali Journalists Syndicate statement.

Another journalist, Somali-Canadian reporter Hodan Nalayeh, was also killed during the attack, according to a Facebook statement by Integration TV, the online media outlet she founded.

The militant group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Reuters, which cited Ahmed Mohamed Madobe, the region’s president, as saying that three attackers had died during the attack and that a fourth was captured alive.

CPJ repeatedly called Jubbaland police commissioner Mohamed Nasir Guled for comment, but the calls did not go through and he did not respond to text messages.