Assailants shot Ali in the head near his home in the north-central town of Galkayo in the semi-autonomous republic of Puntland at around 9 p.m., local journalists told CPJ. The attack occurred in Galkayo's northern district of Is-Raac.
Al-Shabaab insurgents claimed responsibility for the murder through a broadcast on their station, Radio Andalus, the following evening, and accused the reporter of being a "spy" for the Puntland government, local journalists told CPJ.
After working for the community station Radio Galkayo for three years, Ali had recently quit his position as head of programs to pursue further education in Uganda, local journalists told CPJ. Ali also contributed to the local pro-government news website Puntlandi and to a community radio station that was based in Canada.
Local journalists said Ali was targeted for comments reported on Radio Galkayo and in Puntlandi. Radio Galkayo is considered one of the few outspoken critics of the insurgent group Al-Shabaab, which has fought the Puntland administration since 2007.
An active member of civil society in the Muldug region of Puntland, Ali wrote a column for the Puntlandi website called "Decide your future in Muldug" and led a youth group under the same name.