Reporters Without Borders is deeply shocked by the death of Radio Simba presenter Farah Hassan Sahal, who was shot three times at close range yesterday – once in the head and twice in the chest – outside the entrance to the privately-owned radio station, located near Hareed mosque in Mogadishu’s Bakara Market neighbourhood.
Colleagues who witnessed the shooting said the shots were fired by a soldier with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) or the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).
“While the current famine has put Somalia at the centre of the world’s attention, this incident serves as reminder that the crisis is not just about food or humanitarian needs but also about the war and the anarchy that have prevailed there for the past 20 years,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Local journalists work in terrible security conditions, caught in the crossfire from the fighting and often deliberately targeted by anti-media militiamen.
“We urge the African Union and Somalia’s transitional government to conduct an investigation into this tragedy to establish whether one of their soldiers was responsible. Light needs to be shed on this crime. It must not go unpunished.”
Sahal was shot while he and two colleagues were in the process of trying to remove equipment from the radio station in order to store it temporarily in a safer place. Clashes between the Islamist militia Al-Shabaab and government troops backed by the African Union have forced the station to suspend its activities.
Aged 45, Sahal had worked for Radio Simba ever since its creation in 2006. He leaves a wife and nine children.
Photo : Two Somali soldiers near Bakara main market, in Mogadishu (Abdurashid Abikar / AFP)