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Somali radio director first on Al-Shabaab fighter's hit list

Awil Mohamud Abdi, director of Radio Galkayo, was found to be on an Al-Shabaab fighter's hit list.
Awil Mohamud Abdi, director of Radio Galkayo, was found to be on an Al-Shabaab fighter's hit list.

Radio Gaalkacyo/Facebook

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) calls on the authorities in Puntland and Galmudug to guarantee the safety of journalists named on a hit list that was found on an Al-Shabaab fighter.

Galmudug security forces recently arrested an Al-Shabaab fighter by the name of Abdihakim Hassan Hamud after he killed and wounded civilians in northern Galkayo. On him, they found a list of Mudug region officials, journalists and business people that he was supposed to assassinate. Security forces in Galmugud handed Hamud over to Puntland security forces.

Hamud, who claimed to be from Eelbuur town in central Somalia, reportedly admitted to be an Al-Shabaab member who was deployed to "kill a number of people in Galkayo" according to colonel Mohamed Nur Ali, a police commander in Galkayo.

At the top of Al-Shabaab's hit list was the director of Radio Galkayo, Awil Mohamud Abdi, whom they planned to assassinate on 3 March, according to the list discovered by the security forces; Hamud also admitted to wanting to kill Abdi. Abdi's picture was also found on Hamud. The apprehended Al-Shabaab fighter had six other journalists on the hit list.

"Authorities in both southern and northern Galkayo must beef up the security and the protection of journalists in Galkayo. They can do that by guaranteeing the safety of all the journalists named in the list, by protecting media houses in Galkayo and all other journalists in [the] Mudug region,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

When confronted at a police station, Awil Mohamud Abdi was able to recognise that Hamud was following him into restaurants and public places. Abdi and the other six journalists left Galkayo to Garowe and Hargeisa for safety reasons.

On 2 August 2013, at around 23hrs local time, armed men followed Awil Mohamud Abdi from Radio Galkayo. Five minutes later when Abdi arrived at his house and turned on the light in his bedroom, seven bullets slammed into the bedroom window near where he had been standing. Awil threw himself to the ground. Holes in his bedroom wall and bullets were found on the floor. Abdi was unharmed.

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