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Radio Shabelle received Reporters Sans Frontiere's Press Freedom Award in 2010, and has been continuously harassed by Islamic militants. Four of their journalists were murdered in 2009.
Hassan was outspoken on political and governance issues, and critical of both al-Shabaab and the governance of Somalia. Hassan worked as reporter before he was named as director of Radio Shabelle last year. The station also recently reported on corruption at Mogadishu's sea port, for which a senior Transitional Federal Government (TFG) official was fired.
Hassan left the station at about 5pm (0300 GMT) local time for home. The two young assassins had been spotted in his neighborhood earlier that day, nearby his home. The men were dressed in civilian uniform, according to his colleagues and residents.
One of his colleagues described the scene, "The two men shot him in the head in several times. They quickly escaped from the area and his body is now in Madina hospital," Ahmed Hassan Addow Anshur told Somalia Report. "He was interested in reporting news about al-Shabaab and the group’s abuses in the areas they control."
Ahmed Hassan Ma’allin, a police officer in the Banadir region who spoke to Somalia Report, said that the two armed men who killed Director Hassan Osman Abdi were al-Shabaab fighters, adding, "We are operating around the Wadajir district and will investigate this murder as quickly as possible." He also said the TFG bears no responsibility for the murder.
Reporters Without Borders issued a press statement on Hassan's death saying, “Violence against journalists in Somalia is sustained by impunity for those responsible. It is quite clear that Abdi was deliberately targeted. We call for a serious and impartial investigation that leads to the identification of his murderers.”
Independent journalists in Mogadishu increasingly face difficulties on reporting on conflict in Somalia, as neither the TFG nor al-Shabaab want accurate reports of their casualties or hardship caused to civilians by warfare.