Abdi Jeylani Malaq, a TV actor, comedian and producer also known as Marshale, was fatally shot in cold blood by unidentified gunmen as he was about to enter his home in the Mogadishu district of Waberi at around 7 p.m. yesterday.
He was taken with gunshot injuries to the head and chest to the capital’s Madina hospital, where he died. The method of operation used in the killing and the threats he had previously received suggest that it was the work of the Islamist militia Al-Shabaab.
“This tragedy is a cruel reminder that nothing stops free expression’s enemies in Africa’s deadliest country for the media,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Anyone who dares to speak out against Al-Shabaab’s crimes in Somalia is signing their own death warrant.”
“These barbaric acts have never elicited an effective reaction from either the local authorities or the international community. Must the list of victims keep on growing before those responsible cease to enjoy complete impunity?”
Malaq, who worked for Universal TV, wrote and performed in popular television dramas in which he used humour to criticize both the federal transitional government and armed groups, including Al-Shabaab. He had recently received several phone threats from Al-Shabaab for criticizing its recruitment of child soldiers.
A journalist working for Universal TV, Abdulkadir Omar Abdulle, narrowly survived an attack in Mogadishu on 7 July, when two individuals shot him in the stomach and leg at close range. He was evacuated to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi for treatment.
Malaq was the seventh media professional to be killed in Somalia since the start of the year.
Al-Shabaab has been on the Reporters Without Borders list of Predators of Press Freedom for many years, while Mogadishu was listed as one of the world’s ten most dangerous places for the media in the 2011 Reporters Without Borders roundup.
Photo : Abdi Jeylani Malaq (Hiiran Online)