Somali TV reporter killed in twin car bombings in Mogadishu
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) deplores a TV reporter’s death in the twin car bombings on 29 October in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, in which three other journalists were badly injured, and calls on authorities to ensure that those responsible are identified and brought to trial.
Mohamed Isse Hassan, who worked for the online television channel M24 TV, has joined the tragically long list of journalists to have been killed in what is Africa’s most dangerous country for media workers.
After the first car bomb exploded at around 2 p.m. at a very busy intersection, targeting government offices and civilians, Hassan rushed to the scene of the explosion and was killed, along with around 30 other people, by the second bomb which, like the first, had been placed under a car.
“This latest tragedy intensifies the dangerous climate for the media in Somalia,” said Sadibou Marong, the director of RSF’s sub-Saharan Africa bureau. “We condemn this despicable attack, which deliberately targeted reporters who had gone to the scene to do their job. The authorities must carry out an investigation in order to identify the culprits and bring them to trial, and must do everything possible to protect journalism, which plays an essential role.”
Two other reporters and a camera assistant narrowly escaped death in the second explosion after rushing to the scene of the first one. VOA Somali and M24 TV reporter Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulle, Reuters reporter Feisal Omar Hashi and Hashi’s camera assistant, Bile Abdisalan Ahmed, were all badly injured by shrapnel from the second blast.
Although it was not immediately claimed, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud blamed the “cruel and cowardly terrorist attack” on Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group linked to Al-Qaeda that has been responsible for many deadly attacks on civilians and military in Somalia.
As part of the “total war” that it has declared on Al Shabaab, the government banned the Somali media on 8 October from publishing any information about this Islamist group on pain of prosecution.
Hassan’s death comes just one month after Somali National Television reporter Ahmed Mohamed Shukur was by killed by a landmine while covering a counter-terrorist operation about 30 km northeast of Mogadishu. Aged 20, he was the first journalist to be killed in Somalia in 2022.
Somalia is ranked 140th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2022 World Press Freedom Index.