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Kathleen Sledge

Strategic Research / In Depth Timeline – HornAfrik Media Inc.,
Somalia

Significant People
Mohamed Elmi – co-founder of HornAfrik
Mohamed Eli (killed) – director of HornAfrik ?-2007
Abdallah Nurdin Ahmed – senior producer at HornAfrik (journalist and
snack bar owner)
Muhammad Mahmud Ilmi – director of HornAfrik 2001
Ahmed Abdisalam Adan – managing partner/co-founder of HornAfrik
Said Tahlil Ahmed (killed) – director of HornAfrik 2007 – Feb 2009
Ali Iman Sharmarke–
-

Killed in Aug 2007
Co-manager/co-founder/co-owner of HornAfrik
Reported in Mogadishu for 8 years
Fled to Canada with his family in 1991 when Somalia went into
civil war
Proud of his citizenship and fiercely loyal to his adopted country
Felt a pull back to Somalia after a while, tried to bring some
peace back that he had found in Canada
Lots of info on Sharmarke in #12
Sharmarke’s wife moved from Ottawa, a month before her
husband’s death, to Kenya in order to be closer to him

Mahad Ahmed Elmi (killed) – director of Capital Voice radio (one of
HornAfrik’s stations)
Ahmed Mohamed Aden – director of HornAfrik 2006,2008
Hassan Mohamed – reporter/producer/librarian at HornAfrik
Miscellaneous
 “free media is one of the building blocks for stability, something
greatly needed in Somalia” – Blanquita Cullum BBC

 Poster hanging in HornAfrik: “Our lives being to end the day we
become silent about things that matter.”
 Good statement from the International Federation of Journalists and
the UN after Sharmarke’s death
 Who are you going to choose to offend? The government or the Islamic
troops? (me)
 After Sharmarke’s assassination the UN called for action to ensure the
freedom and safety of the media. The IFJ made a statement
specifically concerning conditions in Somalia. (me)
 To some surprise, an arrest in the murder of Sharmarke was made the
day after his death. However, colleagues and partners of Mr.
Sharmarke, although glad to hear of the arrests, are skeptical that it’s
not just a show to get organizations and critical opinions off their
backs. (me)
 Mr. Elmi’s comments didn’t display ander or a cry for justice over the
death of Sharmarke. Instead he was concerned with consoling
Sharmarkes window and dealing with the loss, saying they would think
about how to move forward, with life and the fight for freedom in
Somalia.
 Statement from Somalis Minister of Information condemns the Sep
2010 raids in a statement in #16
 #19 lame blog to check back for formatting
 #20 a jumbled Canadian article about Somali-Canadian journalists.
Confusing and jumbled.
Somalia








Has had no central government since the fall of dictator Siad Barre in
1991
No protection for freedom of press
Journalists practice extreme self-censorship to survive
The government will harass and detain you – the other side (Islam
extremists/militants) will kill you
Journalists face double peril of offending both the government and the
still-active forces of the Islamic courts, which were ousted when
Ethiopian troops helped install the current government [last year?]
Estimated 17,000 civilians killed and 29,000 other wounded in
Somalia’s conflict from 2007-2009 (check that before using)
Ethiopian troops left Somalia in January of ’09 after 2 years, but in
February of that year (09) they were reported to have crossed back
over the border to battle Islamists.
A movement mentioned in article #15 is on the US terrorist watch list
Much fighting in the Mogadishu region between Islamists and
government forces. Area controlled by al-Shabaab and the journalists





can get caught in the middle? Persecuted from either side depending
on who the information displeases or doesn’t hold in good light. (me)
Al-Shabaab pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and follows the strict Saudi
Arabian-inspired Wahabi interpretation of Islam, rather than the Sufi
Islam of many Somalis.
Radio stations provide a vital source of information for Mogadishu
residents who need to be constantly updated on what areas are
unsafe.
9 journalists killed in ’09 – highest number since 1991
The Government is backed by a 6,000-strong African Union force but
controls only a small part of the capitol
16 journalists fled Somalia in 2012

HornAfrik Media Inc.












Founded December 1999
Privately owned radio (2) and television (1) broadcaster based in
Mogadishu (by 2009)
First independent radio station in Somalia
Radio is the most dominant medium in Somalia – there is no national,
domestic broadcaster
All other radio was privately owned/government controlled (/)
No protection of freedom of press in Somalia
Receive harsh critique for airing outside programming such as
segments from the BBC
Created call-in programs that became very popular – all the warlords
have had at least one appearance
Popular even in the Netherlands
The network has been attacked and shut down at various times by
insurgents or government officials.
Brought the chaos of Mogadishu to the outside world and gave Somalis
a look into the outside world.
“Horn of Africa”
HornAfrik was blacklisted by Al-Shabaab as a “pro-government” outlet.

TIMELINE
Dec 1999 – HornAfrik opened as the first independent radio network in
Mogadishu, Somalia
2002 – Canadian Journalists for Free Expression honored the HornAfrik
founders.

-“they (journalists) have faced constant intimidation and threats in a
society where there is no one to protest to, and no protection of the freedom
of press”
Jan 2005 – Kate Peyton, a BBC producer, is killed in Somalia (outside her
hotel?)
Jan 2005 – attack on HornAfrik Radio. Accused by Islamist extremist groups
as “anti-Islamic” and serving “foreign interests”
Jan 2005 – militia from the city’s Islamic courts took over a cemetery and
removed the corpses of nearly 700 graves and put them near Mogadishu
Airport
March 2005 – Dlauhul and Qarbooshe of Radio Hargeisa are harassed.
Private radio stations are banned in Somaliland
April 2005 – Shacab newspaper reporter and editor are harassed. Farah is
arrested over two items published in Shacab
May 2005 – Mohamed Halane of HornAfrik is attacked. Nuradin Mualin
Muktar of Baydhabo.com and Midinino.com is attacked.
May 2005 – Shacab is censured and harassed. They get temporarily shut
down by the government for publishing articles that could lead to unrest.
May 2005 – Nurdin Ahmed of HornAfrik is attacked. It is unsure if journalism
or business was the related factor that got him attacked.
June 2005 – Duniya Muhyadin Nur of Captial Voice (owned by HornAfrik
Media Company) is killed
June 2005 – Abdi Farah Nur of Shacab is imprisoned after he defied the ban.
He was released without charge but was still suspended
June 2005 – STN staff is imprisoned, harassed and censored.
August 2005 – Abdullahi Kulmiya Adow of HornAfrik is imprisoned and
harassed. He was arrested after reporting that officials displaced some 1500
students after taking over a school building for their operations. Following his
release, Adow was expelled from town.
Sep 2005 – Awale Jama Salad of STN is imprisoned after being accused of
defamation and publishing false information. He had poor jail conditions and
was bribed
Sep 2006 – Islamist militia shut down HornAfrik and detained/arrested
(Layla) Sheik Adan Ismail, Adan Mohamed Salad and (Sahro) Abdi Ahmed

after accusing them of broadcasting stories that were critical of their
organization. “We have arrested them for conveying wrong messages to the
people that are against Islamic court.
-National Union of Somali Journalists condemned the move. They called
upon the Islamic Courts Council to immediately end this violation. Sheik
Ahdirahim Ali Mudey, head of Islamic Courts Information Office in Mogadishu,
said the reports could be convicted under Islamic law if their reports were
found to be inaccurate.
- Naseth Dahir Farah, the radio’s editor, and journalist Hassan
Mohammed Nur had gone into hiding from the Islamist authorities.
August 2007 – Mahad Ahmed Elmi, 30, director of Capital Voice Radio, was
shot in the head 4 times at close range as he neared the door to his office.
He hosted a popular radio show that had people phone in to report about
neighborhood news that affected their lives like crime and government
operations.
-“The killing was meant to prevent a real voice that described the
suffering in Mogudishu to other Somalis and to the world” – Sharmarke to an
Associated Press reporter about his collegue (Elmi’s?) death. He denounced
what he called a campaign to silence journalists.
-A freelance journalist, Abdihakim Omar Jimale , was shot and wounded
at his home.
-3 death threats were received by reporters when HornAfrik went back
on the air.
- Ali Sharmarke, 50, was leaving Elmi’s funeral in a procession when his
vehicle was hit by a remotely detonated land mine. No other cars were hit
and it was found that the bomb detonated on his side of the vehicle.
-2 men arrested in Mogadishu for the assassination of former Ottawabased journalist Sharmarke and another Somali journalist (Elmi).
“Government troops last night arrested two men in Yaqshid, one of whom has
confessed to being involved in both attacks.” Mayor Dheere said. “We
condemn the killings of A.I. Sharmarke and of journalists. I urge the media
not to be intimidated by such terrorist acts.”
- Partner of Sharmarke said he’d need to see proof before he believes
that the announced arrests are a real step towards justice and not just a PR
ploy. Mohamed Elmi (co-founder) was glad to hear of the arrest, but admitted
he had some doubts as well.

-Article about Sharmarke’s death appears in Canadian newspaper
saying “…robbing the Somali Canadian and journalism communities of one of
their best.”
-Elmi and Sharmarke were the 4th and 5th (another source says 6th)
journalists killed in Somalia that year (2007) and the 18th and 19th journalists
killed since 1992. (only Iraq saw more journalists killed that year.
2007 – Mohamed Eli (predecessor to Ahmed) was killed by roadside bomb in
Mogadishu
2008 – Attacks on the press in Somalia: (check article #8)
-Prime Minister said at the beginning of ’08 that violations against the
free press are over and named Ahmed Abdisalam Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Information
Dec 2008 – Broadcaster silenced in Islamist-held city (separate article)
-Press release from the CPJ on HornAfrik getting shuttered by militants
in a raid, according to the stations director. Information Secretary of Islamic
Administration in Kismayo accused the station of airing music and “anitIslamic” information. 10 armed militiamen from the Islamist insurgent group
Al-Shabaab conducted the raid.
Feb 2009 – Said Ahmed is murdered by gunshot in Bakara Market in
Mogadishu (separate article)
-gunman shot Said Ahmed, director, in Mogadishu’s Bakara Market.
The market is often a battleground for government soldiers and Islamist
insurgents. Masked men in an alley shot many times, Said was hit in the
heart and those friends accompanying him “ran for their lives”.
-Said was the 9th local journalist killed since the start of 2007
-NUSOJ said Ahmed was killed for his commitment to independent
journalism and asked the government of the newly elected President Sheikh
Ahmed to stop the killings.
-Sheikh Ahmed was elected just the Saturday before Said Ahmed was
killed. Somalis hope his election will bring peace – he is a moderate Islamist
leader. (More info on Pres. Ahmed in #15)
Dec 2009 – Hassan Mohamed (mentioned later) is shot in the head and back
while leaving the HornAfrik station because he wouldn’t air a message from
religious figures with alleged ties to al-Shabaab. (he lived)
2010 – Attacks on Press in 2010: Somalia

-59 Somalia journalists in exile over the past decade (second only to
Ethiopia)
-2 journalists killed in 2010, bringing the death toll to 23 since 2005
-16 journalists fled the country in ‘10
-Violence forced and estimated 200,000 Somalis to flee their homes in
‘10
-Al-Shabaab and Hizbul al-Islam order radio stations to stop playing
music. HornAfrik was one of 3 stations to defy the ban. (different article)
Sep 2010 – (CNN) Islamist militants raid and loot 2 independent radio
stations in Mogadishu; HornAfrik (raided my members of al-Shabaab) and
Global Broadcasting Corporation (raided by Hibzul al-Islam members)
-They chased away journalists and broke cassettes and CDs.
Transmitters and computers were removed along with the rest of the stations
equipment. These raids brought the number of radio stations seized by
militants in Mogadishu to 5 that year.
-(BBC) Seized Somali media network “must serve Islam”. Somali
militants that have seized a radio and TV station say it will now broadcast
only Islamic messages. More attack coverage in #16.
2010 – Hassan Mohamed shot in leg during crossfire he was caught in while
on assignment.
March 2012 – Exiled Somali journalist Hassan Mohamed, 45, dies in Nairobi
suburb. He fled Mogadishu in 2010 after having been threatened, kidnapped
and shot twice. He helped and kept HornAfrik on the air even after senior
staffers fled the country. He was famous in Mogadishu for his radio dramas –
morality plays about local society. He was shot in 2009 and again in 2010
and finally fled after HornAfrik was forced off the air but got death threats
when rumors speak about a possible comeback.