About the human rights defender
Farah Jamal Adan (40) was a veteran Somali human rights journalist. He had worked as a radio reporter, editor and media manager at various media outlet since the 1990s, including the privately owned stations Radio Daljir, Radio Garowe and Radio Galka’io. He also worked for Horn Afrik News Agency for human rights HANAHR as the lead journalist conducted targeted media advocacy for human rights campaigns. Jamal was a vocal critic of the Alshabab militant group and other warlords in Somalia, criticizing them on daily basis for committing human rights violations and abuse. He upheld the right to freedom of expression and was the voice for the voiceless in central and eastern regions in Somalia.
The attack & the threats
On 1st March 2021 he was killed by two unidentified gunmen outside a shop he ran in the northern part of his home town of Galkayo in central Somalia. On his Facebook account, where he posted political commentary and reporting, Jamal had previously said that he received threats from Alshabaab. After the killing, Al-Shabaab announced on its radio station, Radio Andalus, that it had killed Jamal for opposing the group.
In recent years, Jamal published commentary and reports on two separate Facebook pages that have approximately 5,300 and 14,500 followers respectively. His recent posts included commentary about Somalia’s electoral crisis, in which he was critical of federal President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo, and interviews with local taxi drivers upset about the depreciation of the local currency. Jamal was also critical of Alshabaab; in a video posted in December 2020, he urged residents of Galkayo to rise against the militant group and claimed that local officials had conspired to help some militants escape justice; in that video he also said that an unidentified militant had threatened him in a phone call, and vowed to avenge himself against any member of the group who tried to kill him. In a Facebook video posted on 02 January 2021, Jamal claimed to have survived an assassination attempt by a member of Alshabaab, saying that he had captured the attacker and handed him over to the police. He also said he would find Alshabaab’s operatives in Galkayo, and urged local residents to assist police in stopping attacks.
Jamal’s assassination represents a significant blow to all those working for human rights in Somalia. The impunity in this case, a targeted and brutal killing, highlights the lack of accountability for the killing of human rights defenders in Somalia.