Somali Journalists Lived in Fear of Colleague-Turned-al-Shabab Ally

5F5E1FC5-53CF-48D2-92E8-170A957A9EFB_w640_r1_s{VOA News} – Former journalist Hassan Hanafi Haji was executed by a Mogadishu firing squad Monday for his role in the murders of five colleagues as part of an al-Shabab campaign to control local media coverage of the Islamist extremist group.

One of Hanafi’s first targets was the popular private radio station Horn Afrik.

“He was a risk living among us,” said reporter Falastin Iman, who woke to gunfire one August morning in 2007 to find Horn Afrik colleague Mahad Mohamed Elmi shot dead outside her door.

When they took Elmi’s body to the hospital, Hanafi was waiting there.

“He was there to make sure the situation of Mahad, if he died or if he is alive,” Iman said. “He was very dangerous for the journalists because he knew us. He was not like the other al-Shabab members.”

Hanafi went to Elmi’s burial later that day. In a televised confession that he later said had been obtained through torture, Hanafi said he was at the funeral to identify the car used by Iman and Horn Afrik director Ali Iman Sharmarke. READ MORE OF THIS STORY

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About Cholo Brooks 12853 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.