A prominent Somali journalist who was a staunch critic of jihadist group Al-Shabaab was killed by a suicide bomber as he left a restaurant in the capital Mogadishu Saturday, officials and colleagues said.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the blast, which officials said killed Abdiaziz Mohamud Guled, the director of government-owned Radio Mogadishu.
The attack wounded two other people, a director at Somali National Television named as Sharmarke Mohamed Warsame and a driver.
“May God bless my brother Abdiaziz Mohamud Guled, he was a brave man the nation lost,” Somalia’s deputy information minister Abdirahman Yusuf Omar said in a statement.
Government official Ismael Mukhtar Omar, also a colleague of the dead man, told AFP that police had confirmed that the blast had been caused by a suicide bomber.
“He came out of the restaurant and went into his car with a colleague after they had dinner and the suicide bomber ran onto the car window and detonated himself,” said another colleague Ali Mohamed.
Al-Shabaab, which has been waging a violent insurgency against the country’s fragile government since 2007, claimed responsiblity for the attack in a statement, saying its fighters had long pursued the journalist.
Guled, also known as Abdiaziz Afrika, was well known for his interviews with Al-Shabaab suspects detained by the Somali security forces, and his programmes attracted large audiences inside and outside the country.
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, known by its French acronym RSF, says Somalia remains Africa’s most dangerous country for media personnel with more than 50 killed since 2010.
The Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab controlled the capital until 2011 when it was pushed out by African Union troops, but it still holds territory in the countryside and launches frequent attacks against government and civilian targets in Mogadishu and elsewhere.