News / Africa

Murdered Somali Journalist Remembered

Roopa Gogineni

NAIROBI — Representatives of Somali media gathered in a Nairobi suburb on Saturday to honor the late Somali journalist Ali Shamarke, assassinated by al-Shabab militants five years ago.  The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) both identify Somalia as the most dangerous place in Africa to be a journalist.  Six journalists have been killed in Somalia this year alone. 

Saturday in Eastleigh, a Somali neighborhood in the eastern suburbs of Nairobi, journalists gathered to honor a lost colleague. 

Five years ago, Ali Shamarke, the founder of Horn Afrik Media, was assassinated by al-Shabab militants.  His car was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) as he drove from the funeral of Mahad Ahmed Elmi, a fellow journalist and producer for Horn Afrik Radio.  Elmi had been shot in the head earlier that day. 

Shamarke’s widow, Anab Ali, remembers the night before her husband died. He was uneasy because he had received threats from both the Somali Transitional Government (TFG) and al-Shabab. 

"He was having a nightmare, he kept having the same nightmare, he couldn’t sleep," she said. 

Horn Afrik Media, Somalia’s first independent broadcaster, was once a respected news source. 

Iman Burran, a journalist present at Saturday’s event, remembers the service.  "Horn Afrik was actually independent, free, a balanced report.  It was actually the only neutral media," he said. 

After the assassinations in 2007, Horn Afrik faced continued attacks by al-Shabab, the transitional government (TFG) and clan militias.  Their studios were ransacked and the station is now defunct. 

Since the organized government collapsed in 1991, journalists have been censored, threatened and attacked by all sides in Somalia’s conflict.

Tom Rhodes, the Committee to Protect Journalists' East Africa consultant, said, "In many ways the Somali journalists are stuck between a rock and a hard place with individuals in the government that are opposed to their reporting and then of course al-Shabab which is opposed to their existence."

Just over one year has passed since al-Shabab fled Mogadishu, facing military pressure from African Union forces. 

Despite signs that the conflict is abating, analysts like Tom Rhodes do not believe the situation has improved for the Somali press. 

"I feel that the conditions are still very dangerous for journalists; even in Mogadishu, guerrilla tactics are still used by al-Shabab and there may be others including businessmen, who may target them.   The idea that the al-Shabab has left does not mean that it is safe for press," he said. 

Six journalists have been murdered this year.  Five were under the age of 30.  Rhodes says most veteran journalists, the generation of Ali Shamarke, have fled the country.

"They’re young, they’re inexperienced, furthermore they're trying to make a name for themselves so they're willing to take risks that older journalists would not be willing to do, so of course they get targeted far more easily.," he said. 

With Somalia’s political transition set to end later this month, Somali journalists hope the new government will break from past administrations and promote a free press. 

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs