Somali comedian Abdi Jeylani Malaq who dared mock militants is killed

 

On one of his recent radio shows, a popular Somali comedian ridiculed commanders of a ruthless Islamist insurgent group that is notorious for forcibly recruiting boys into its ranks and making them fight.

"Hey young boys, you can't move back from the enemy shelling ... instead just stay there and fight," the comedian said, taking the role of an al-Shabab commander speaking by phone to his youthful troops from an oceanside spot, far from the front lines.

Such ribbing may have cost comedian Abdi Jeylani Malaq his life. On Tuesday, the 43-year-old Malaq was shot dead near his home in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, by two young men suspected of belonging to al-Shabab, a group that pledges fealty to al-Qa'ida.

The targeted killing sparked calls for investigations into his death.

Many in Somalia will miss Malaq's ability to make them laugh as they try to overcome some 20 years of conflict. Mogadishu is enjoying a resurgence in the arts and sports after militants were pushed out of the capital in August 2011

"He brought smiles to our faces when all ... was dark and gloomy. He was a genius comedian," said Mohamed Deq Abdi, a Mogadishu resident.

Dozens of Somali journalists gathered around Malaq's grave today.

"This is a heartbreaking and painful," Abdi Muridi Dhere, one of Malaq's radio colleagues, said through his tears at Malaq's grave.

Malaq's death is the latest in a string of what appear to be targeted killings of media workers in Somalia, where journalists must watch their backs for attacks from militants and criminals and fight through judicial inaction and even outright hostility from the government. Seven journalists have been killed in Somalia this year in what appear to be targeted killings.

The human rights group Amnesty International demanded that Somali authorities and the international community take action to re-establish the rule of law in Somalia following the killing of the comedian.

"Amnesty International is shocked not only by the continuing pattern of targeted attacks against media, but also at the inaction of the Somali authorities to protect them and to investigate these attacks seriously," said Bénédicte Goderiaux, Somalia researcher at Amnesty International. "Not a single person has been brought to justice for the killings of journalists in Somalia this year, nor in previous years."

Somalia has been without a fully functioning government since 1991. The country's leaders today endorsed a new provisional constitution that many here hope will advance human rights protections.

The top UN representative to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, said the new constitution guarantees the right to free expression. He lamented the lack of investigations into media deaths.

"Almost every month we mourn a victim in the Somali media world. This is simply unacceptable," Mahiga said. He called on Somali authorities to investigate this latest attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. 

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before