Somalia: Radio Simba Staffer Shot Outside His Studio


The logistics manager and driver for Radio Simba, Farah Hassan Sahal, died from bullet wounds early Thursday evening just outside the station's compound in the restive Bakara Market in the capital, Mogadishu, Radio Simba Director Abdullahi Ali Farah told CPJ.

Hassan was helping the station move damaged radio equipment when a sniper shot him three times, Farah said. Hassan, 45, is survived by his wife and eight children, he said.

The shots came from an area of the market controlled by African Union (AU) forces, Farah said. Local journalists suspect that the forces may have mistaken Hassan for one of the insurgent gunmen in Al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab, government, and AU forces have been using buildings near the market to attack each other in a week-long offensive aiming to take control of the area, Somali journalists and wire reports said.

Radio Simba has been off the air for three days, Farah said, after shells hit the transmitter antenna of the station. They hope to start rebroadcasting from Bakara Market once the heavy shelling stops since they lack the funds to move to a safer location, he said.

Radio Simba is one of the few media groups still operating in the volatile area, local journalists said. Radio Shabelle, for instance, moved out of the area last year in an attempt to save the station from Al-Shabaab control, Abdimaalik Yusuf, chairman of Radio Shabelle, told CPJ.

In April, Radio Simba sports reporter, Ahmed Hassan, sustained bullet injuries from crossfire while covering a soccer game in Mogadishu. Hassan managed to survive a stomach and shoulder injury after colleagues rushed him to Medina Hospital, local journalists told CPJ.

Last year, a stray bullet killed Barkhat Awale, director of Hurma Radio, while he was helping a technician fix a transmitter on the roof of the station, local journalists told CPJ.