Another Journalist Killed! An Insight Into the Deadly Work of Reporting and Being Targeted by Terrorists.
On Saturday, a vocal journalist against the atrocities orchestrated by the Al- Shabab terrorist syndicate in Somalia was targeted and murdered by the syndicate in the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu.
Abdiaziz Mohamud Guled commonly called Abdiaziz Afrika was killed by a suicide bomber as he exited a restaurant in Mogadishu. The attack wounded several other people including the director of Somali National Television and the driver.
The deceased’ s cousin Abdullahi Nur told Reuters News that the deceased died while being rushed to hospital.
” He always shone a big light on Al- Shabab, may God rest his soul, ” his cousin said.
In a statement about the same, Somali Deputy Information Minister Abdirahman Yusuf Omar described Abdiaziz as a ” brave man. ” Another colleague of Abdiaziz gave a more detailed analysis of the attack that led to the death of the vocal and revered critic of the Al- Shabab;
” He came out of the restaurant and went into his car with a colleague after they had dinner and the suicide bomber ran onto the car window and detonated himself. “
The Al- Shabab which has been responsible for several attacks against politicians, armed personnel, and civilians claimed responsibility for the attack, accusing Abdiaziz of committing crimes against Islam.
” The mujahideen had been hunting Abdiaziz for a long time. He committed crimes against Islam, he was involved in the killing of mujahideens, ” the Al- Shabab spokesperson told Reuters over the phone.’
The death of Abdiaziz marks another on the long list of journalists and reporters that have met their deaths at the hands of the Al- Shabab. In 2019, two Somali journalists were among the 26 killed in the attack at a hotel in Kismayo.
Mohamed Sahal Omar who worked for SBS and Hodan Nalayeh were both killed during the attack. In 2018, another three journalists were killed.
The targeting of journalists by terrorists is not an incident unique to Somalia. Terrorist syndicates in several nations have in the past targeted journalists, the most recent being the death of Dannish Siddiqui in Afghanistan.
According to the UN, 33 journalists have been killed in Afghanistan between 2018 and 2021. While Dannish was caught in the crossfire between Taliban fighters and government forces, the death of Abdiaziz was characterized by a deliberate calculation on the part of the Al- Shabab to murder him.
The death of Abdiaziz draws attention to the harsh realities that journalists face in the exercise of their jobs and their line of duty. In pursuit of truth and the desire to make known the stories in the most desolate areas of the world, journalists are always at risk of being targeted.
While at their jobs, journalists are likely to be victims of either targeted violence– as in the case of Abdiaziz– or inadvertent violence– as in the case of Dannish. In all cases, however, the resulting consequence is that journalists risk losing their lives at their jobs.
It remains criminal under international humanitarian law to target civilian persons and objects as long as they are not making any direct military contribution. Journalists should never be targeted during conflicts. Of course, belligerents like the Al- Shabab do not as a general rule ascribe to such codes of international law.
Al- Shabab: A Brief
The terrorist syndicate Al- Shabab has been operational in Somalia for several years now. Operational in East Africa and Yemen, the syndicate founded in the early 2000s rose to prominence during the 2006- 2009 Somalia war.
However, the group was driven out of the capital Mogadishu in August 2011by an allied force of government and AMISOM fighters.
The Al- Shabab terrorist syndicate has been responsible for several attacks in the region including the deadly July 11 bombings in Kampala in 2010 that killed hundreds of civilians. In 2013, the group was also indicted after the deadly attacks at Westgate Shopping mall that resulted in the death of over 60 civilians.
In 2015, the same group launched an attack at Garissa University killing 148.
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