A freelance journalist who was shot dead in Afgooye Monday had received death threats from the militant group Al-Shabaab in 2019 over his reporting, a journalists’ group has said.
Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) said Monday Abdiweli Ali Hassan who died while being rushed to hospital from Afgooye had received death threats over his reports with a recent one about the inauguration of a new school in Shalanbood district and renovation of the district commissioner’s offices and military operations.
“Abdiwali’s last news report on Saturday 15 February, covered Somali National Army operation in several districts in the Lower Shabelle region targeting al-Shabaab held locations,” SJS said.
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Abdiweli was hit by several bullets on the head and chest while returning home in Hawa Tako neighbourhood in Afgooye at about 6.15 pm local time according to SJS. He later succumbed to the injuries while being rushed to Mogadishu for treatment.
“This is indeed another sad day for Somali journalists. We call for the Somali Federal Government and the local authorities to carry out prompt investigations and bring the killers into the justice,” SJS Secretary General Abdalle Mumin said.
Federal of Somali Journalists Secretary General Mohamed Moalimuu condemned the murder of Abdiweli and called on authorities to investigate and bring to book those behind the murder of the journalist.
“We condemn the murder of Abdiweli Ali Hassan. Abdiwali was deeply committed journalist who remained dedicated to informing the public at great risk to himself over the years. I call on the local authorities to investigate this crime and bring its perpetrators to justice, an essential step to improve the safety of journalists working in the area,” Moalimuu said.
The murder of Abdiwali which is the first in 2020 comes barely a week after a report by Amnesty International spoke of a surge in oppression of journalists, absence of prosecution of perpetrators and sustained efforts by the state to harass, intimidate and constraint journalists.
The Director of Communications at Villa Somalia Abdinur Mohamed said Abdiweli’s murder will not silence journalists in Somalia.
“The cowardly murder of our young industrious journalist Abdiweli Cali-Abdiweli Online in Afgooye today is too painful to take. May Allah give Sabr to his family and colleagues.
No amount of fear can silence or scare the restoration of safety of practicing journalism in Somalia,” said Mohamed.