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"Three people armed with pistols approached and shot him several times in the head and chest. He was standing in front of his home and was knocking on the door," Mohamed Dahir, a neighbor, told Somalia Report.
The murderers escaped quickly. A local militia loyal to the Wadajir governor has begun searching in the area, although no suspects have yet been captured. Abukar, father of four, was rushed to Madina Hospital where he was later confirmed dead from wounds.
Qaali Mo’alin, a female journalist working for the local FM station Radio Shabelle which suffered the loss of their colleague Hassan Osman Abdi just a month ago, told Somalia Report that she and her colleagues were shocked and angered saying, “this is a double outrage, sad both for us and his family. However, it will not stop us from reporting, even though we know that several senior media workers have been killed in Somalia since 2007.” On January 28, Hassan Osman (better known as 'Hassan Fantastic'), the director of Mogadishu-based Radio Shabelle, was shot and killed by gunmen while returning home in Wadajir district of Mogadishu.
“It is really a heartbreaking moment for us, and I cannot talk too much about him at the moment,” said a relative of the late journalist who asked not to be named. “I don't think Abukar Hassan Kadaf has been involved in journalism since Somaliweyn radio was taken by al-Shabaab,” he added.
Another family member said Abukar was deterred from activism by the threats from al-Shabaab. “After al-Shabaab fighters looted the radio station, they have been calling him and threatening, but he did not allow that to stop him. He was working with local NGOs in Mogadishu that al-Shabaab accuses of covertly support Western ideology and being against Islam,” Nuur Hajji told Somalia Report.
According to a relative, Kadaf was working as ex-Banadir coordinator for youths. Ex-Banadir is one of local NGOs in Mogadishu that organizes for peace. He was believed to be the organizer of several rallies in Mogadishu against the al-Shabaab militants that were attended by Banadir administrative officials.
Speaking to local media, Muhyadiin Hassan Afrah, the chairman of a local NGO, accused al-Shabaab militants of the assassination of their colleague. “We believe al-Shabaab is our first enemy, because they don’t like members of civil society who are campaigning for peace here in Mogadishu,” said Afrah.
Somaliweyn was an independent FM radio station, which was looted two years ago by al-Shabaab who took transmitters and computers. Since the closure of the radio station, Abokar has been involved in advocating for peace in Somalia, working with non-governmental organizations and civil society groups.
The New York-based NGO Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released a statement of condemnation of the killing, and noted that a colleague of Hassan told CPJ that he had planned to relaunch SomaliWeyn Radio.
The governor of Wadajir district Ahmed Hassan Addow condemned the shooting, saying "We are currently investigating, and what we know for now is only that armed militias killed Abukar. We are investigating and will release the results of our investigations in a day or two. For now, know that we will not stop until we capture the murderers, who I think are hidden in the district and our security forces are busy hunting for them.”
Somalia Report contacted TFG Deputy Minister of Information Bile Nuur Isaaq for further details, but he declined to make a statement at this time, saying only that they are investigating and will issue a statement on the shooting later.
Kidnapping, torture, death threats and other intimidations are a tragic element of life as a journalist in most of Somalia. Reporters Without Borders indicates that 11 journalists have been killed in just the past two years in Somalia, and this will be the third murder of a prominent journalist in 2012.