National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) is deeply troubled by the assassination of Abdulwali Ali Hassan also known as "Online" who was killed in Afgoye town of Lower Shabelle Region, 30 KM south of Mogadishu.
Abdulwali Ali Hassan was shot and wounded by men armed with pistols on Sunday evening (16 February 2020) at around 18:53 while he was on his way back from duty. He has been a freelance reporter with Mogadishu-based Kulmiye Radio and Universal TV. He later succumbed to the injuries he sustained in Mogadishu where he was taken for a medical emergency.
"We express our anger and condemnation at the killing of Abdulwali Ali Hassan, the latest victim in this ongoing cycle of intimidation, violence, and murder against journalists in this country," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. "The killers wanted to silence one of the few independent voices coming from Afgoye. They won by killing our colleague."
"We demand a quick & thorough investigation This cold-blooded murder and apprehension of those who killed Abdulwali. The absence of justice for those who use the right to free expression in the media is unacceptable. Killers must face the full force of the law, and that responsibility squarely lies with the authorities of the federal government and the Southwest Administration in Afgoye," stated Osman.
Journalists in Afgoye told NUSOJ that Abdulwali has been receiving threatening calls from a caller who have hidden their telephone numbers but widely suspected to be Al-Shabaab. They also believe that he was killed because of his recent reports about the local security situation as the late journalist was covering the recent build-up and movements by the Somali National Army (SNA) in Lower Shabelle region.
"I have ordered the security agencies in the Afgoye District to conduct an official investigation into the murder of Abdulwali Ali Hassan, apprehend killers and hand them over to the justice authorities. Abdulwali Ali has been working closely with our regional administration to cover important events and we cannot allow him to be silenced so easily" said Ibrahim Adan Ali "Najah", Governor of Lower Shabelle Region.
While no one has claimed responsibility for the murder yet, the murder resembles operations by Al-Shabaab, which did not like the reporting of the journalist on SNA movements, according to local authorities.
"We send our respects to the family, friends, and colleagues of Abdulwali Ali Hassan who died for doing his cherished job to ensure that the truth is told in his own town of Afgoye," added Osman.
Abdulwali, 25, is sadly the first journalist to be killed in Somalia this year and is survived by a wife and 2 children. His death comes amid growing demands for a credible, functioning and effective national safety mechanisms for the protection of the safety of journalists.