Popular Somali referee Osman Jama Dirah was shot to death Thursday evening near his home in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
“The sports officer was killed after leaving mosque on the way to his residence in Wardhigley district. Two men armed with pistols shot him several times,” said Anas Ali Mohamud, a former Somali National Team player who was a friend of the deceased.
He said the killers fled the scene before the arrival of Somali security forces, who conducted an unsuccessful search for the culprits.
The motive for Dirah’s murder is unclear, and so far no one has claimed responsibility.
“Somali sports figures and members of the Somali Football Federation have never been a target for the armed groups because they did not get involved into politics, they were entertainers. But the killing of this official has created a fear and uncertainty among us,” Mohamud said.
Mohamud says Dirah contributed to Somali soccer for more than 25 years.
He had been one of the most popular referees in Somalia since the1990s and refereed regional and international games. Dirah was an active member of the Somali Football Federation and served as the head its referees committee.