Connect to share and comment

Warsame Shire Awale, Somali poet, killed in Mogadishu

Popular Somali poet Warsame Shire Awale was known for using his art to speak out against the violence of militants.

Mogadishu guardEnlarge
An AMISOM soldier stands guard at Hotel Uruba in Mogadishu on October 24, 2012. Somalia's Al-Qaeda linked Shabab insurgents are on the back foot, reeling from a string of losses as they battle a 17,000-strong African Union force as well as Ethiopian troops and Somali forces. But while the extremist movement is badly damaged a hard core remain a potent threat, linking up with regional Islamist groups and leaving operatives to launch attacks across the south, analysts warn. (ABDURASHID ABIKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Warsame Shire Awale, a well-known Somali poet, playwright, songwriter and radio performer known for his comic criticism of the militant group Al Shabab was shot and killed in Mogadishu on Monday night, the BBC reported.

Abdi Mohamed Haji, one of Warsame Shire Awale's colleagues at Radio Kulmiye, told Al Jazeera that Awale was shot by two men with pistols near his home and died at the hospital shortly after.

The National Union of Somali Journalists said Awale had previously received death threats for his songs and other works, which denounced violence and called for people to help the police, according to the BBC.

"We urge the Federal authorities of Somalia to conduct a full and impartial investigation into Warsame's death and the sustained killings of journalists to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice because justice delayed is a justice denied," said Omar Faruk Osman, the Secretary General of the journalists' union, accoriding to a statement posted to AllAfrica.com.

Though Al Shabab is thought to be behind several attacks against media workers — 2012 is the deadliest on record for journalists in Somalia — a senior Al Shabab leader speaking to Al Jazeera denied any involvement in Awale's shooting.

"This gentleman was an old man and we had no wish to kill him. Blaming Al Shabab for this is a politically motivated issue," Ali Mohamed Hussein said, according to the news outlet.

Somalia is the most dangerous country in Africa in which to work as a member of the media, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/somalia/121030/warsame-shire-awale-somali-poet-killed-mogadishu