Somali comic shot dead

Awale mocked extremist groups

A Somali comedian known for mocking militant groups has been assassinated in the capital Mogadishu.

Warsame Shire Awale, was also a composer, poet and drama producer, and known for his comedy on a local radio station. He was killed by two local gunmen late on Monday, police said

Abdi Mohamed Haji, a colleague at Radio Kulmiye, told the Agence France-Presse news agency: ‘Two men armed with pistols shot and wounded him near his house... he died shortly after in hospital.’

Awale, 61, mocked the Al Shabaab group, which has been linked to Al Qaeda, and how they imposed an extreme version of Islamic law. However senior Al Shabaab officials have denied being behind the killing, saying any such claims were ‘politically motivated’.

The killing is the latest in a wave of attacks on media workers in the troubled nation. Fellow comic Abdi Jeylani Malaq Marshale, who worked on the same radio station, was assassinated in August. And on Sunday, Mohamed Mohamud Turyare, a journalist and producer with another radio station, Radio Shabelle, died from wounds received when he was attacked by two gunmen a week earlier.

A statement released by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva today said: ‘We are extremely alarmed by the continuing assault on Somalia’s media workers and journalists by Al Shabaab and other elements.

‘We urge the new Government of Somalia to take urgent steps to protect journalists and other media workers, and to end the complete impunity that has been enjoyed by their killers. Each death should be properly investigated.

Published: 30 Oct 2012

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