Somalia: Musician gunned down by militiamen



Musician gunned down by militiamen

Targeted ‘double-killings’ of musicians and writers in Somalia continue unabated. On 21 July 2008, militiamen from the Somali Islamist groups, armed with pistols, gunned down musician Omar Nur Basharah in the capital Mogadishu.

By Abdulkadir M. Wa’ays

The assailants shot Omar Nur Basharah several times in the chest as he was on his way home from a funeral of a relative, and by-passers immediately rushed him to a nearby hospital, said eyewitnesses who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) claimed this attack in a news report posted on their website, Qaadisiya, describing this musician as a “spy” who was working for the Somali government and its allied Ethiopian forces in Mogadishu.

Third person from right: Omar Nur Basharah singing
at a HIV campaign event in Mogadishu

Stopped music activities
Omar Nur Basharah is a singer and actor whose artistic skills came to the spotlight following his spectacular performances in the last Banadiri theatrical plays staged in Mogadishu in the end of the 1980s.

This musician, like all other musicians in Somalia, had officially stopped his music activities many years before for fear of his life, and has recently been serving his local community as their chairperson in Horseed division, one of the divisions in the administration of Hamarweine district of Benadir region. Yet, he sometimes used to perform at occasional events organised by local civil society organisations for public awareness raising purposes, namely in the HIV and sanitation campaigns in Mogadishu.

“As violence and fighting in Somalia escalates, both the Somali musicians and print media journalists face a pure targeted ‘double-killing’ ”, said a local observer who spoke in Mogadishu on condition of anonymity.

“First, the Islamists prevented them from making a living by practicing their professional artistic or journalistic skills. Now it seems that they cannot feel safe even if they leave their professional skills and change over to work in other capacities.”

“Not only the music but also the print media is disappearing in Somalia, while their preferred replacements such as the FM radios and their mushrooming associated websites are at least enjoying the protection of their politically influential owners as well as their respective clan militias,”said this local observer.

Editors murdered
On 27 December 2007, Mohamed Muhiyadin Ali, a popular and celebrity newspaper editor in the Somali-speaking Horn of Africa, was murdered in a remote-controlled landmine attack in Mogadishu. Like other members from the Somali creative community, Mohamed Muhiyadin Ali had changed over to work in other capacities, taking up a position as spokesperson in the office of the Mogadishu mayor. It didn’t save his life.

On 31 January 2008, gunmen shot to death Abbas ‘Galayr’ Mohamed inside a local teashop in Mogadishu. Galayr, another veteran journalist who worked for the Somali News Agency, was the immediate replacement of the late Mohamed Muhiyadin Ali.

Somali Islamists insurgent groups claimed both attacks in a breaking-news reports they posted on their websites, in which they described both victims as “spies working for the Ethiopian infidels and their puppet Somali government forces.”


Mohamed Muxiyadin, the late celebrity newspaper editor

Abbas ‘Galayr’, the late veteran journalist


Qaadisiya – 21 July 2008:

‘Jaasuus kamid ah Shaqaalaha Tikreega oo Xamar weyne lagu tooktay’

Alqimmah – 31 January 2008:

‘Deg-Deg: Allaahu Akbar… Afhayeenkii Murtadiinta Maamulka Gobolka…’

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