Mogadishu (PP Features) — In April 1991 four Somali reporters were executed in a part of Radio Mogadishu premises. The man accused of the crime was a fellow reporter with a distinctive nickname: Taakeeye. Sufyaan Mohammed is a man with the same nickname who purports to have discovered “ecclesiastical roots of the Somali flag” . He told several interviewers that colonists had promoted the Somali flag and that what the flag stands for is un-Islamic”. He claims to lead Talo-wadaag (literally decision-sharing), a group whose members he will not disclose at this stage. “I am the only member taking a risk,” said Taakeeye.
Is Sufyaan Takeeye the person who killed four reporters in one day and caused the death of another reporter who died when a bullet fired by Taakeeye ricocheted off a wall and fatally hit Abdulkadir Ali Idle on the head at the Ministry of Information premises in Mogadishu in 1991? The radio journalists he executed on 8 April 1991 were Mahad Adan Hassan, Mohamed Ali Salad (Xange), Abdi Sheikh Ali and Abukar Mohamed Nur. Discrepancies emerged in several interviews with Sufyaan Mohamed. In one interview he said that he “was 16 years old in 1991 and was not a United Somali Congress fighter.” In another interview he said he intentionally lied to “mislead people my enemies will use as witnesses against me. I was a primary school Arabic language teacher in Jilib until 1991. Pupils called me Mr Michael because of my fashion style”. In the first interview he claimed to have been a special correspondent for the Interim Prime Minister Omar Arteh Ghalib.
Abdulkadir Mohamud Walaayo, a veteran journalist who worked with New Era, Nuova Era, Stella d’ottobre and was once ANSA correspondent in Somalia, challenged Sufyaan’s version. “He did not have the calibre to become acorrespondent for Prime Minister Arteh” Walaayo told Shibbin, a Somali Youtuber. Walaayo backed up the story of Abdisalam Ahmed Jimale, who said that Taakeeye executed four radio journalists in 1991. “One Xaange, oneof the radio journalists executed by Taakeeye was my friend and, in 1991, lived in the same house as I did. I will share facts of the case because Taakeeye brought so much pain to families of my colleagues” said Abdisalsm. Mohamed Ali Salad (Xaange) was a brother of Abdulkadir Ali Salad (aka Abdulkadir Juula), who had been a radio Mogadishu reporter and Italian language lecturer at the Somali National University. Abdisalam said Taakeeye had wrongly inferred Abukar’s clan identity when he saw Abukar sharing with his colleagues the story of his flight to Kismayo, where he met former Radio Mogadishu colleagues before returning to Mogadishu. “Taakeeye wrongly assumed Abukar belonged to clans that fled Mogadishu in 1991” he said.
Taakeeye was able to work at the Somali Ministry of Information Ministry despite committing multiple murders. Former Radio journalists interviewed by Somali YouTubers said that Taakeeye was a bodyguard for Mohamed Mohamu Guled Ga’modhere, the Information Minister appointed by the United Somali Congress.
“Taakeeye was still allowed to work at the Ministry of Information after killing four radion journalists. One day he came to the payroll manager, Ali Abdullahi (aka Ali Bay), who before 1991 wrote radio commentaries, asked for a payment authorised by the Information Minister. When Ali told him he had no money but could find another way to buy medicines for him because Taakeeye had bronchitis, he left the office in anger. A bullet fired from his gun bounced off the wall and killed Abdulkadir Ali Idle” said Abdisalam.
Abdi Sheikhdoon Nageeye, a senior official with Center for Research and Dialogue, was a radio journalist who confronted Taakeeye following the death of four journalists. Nageeye told his friends that he found it uncomfortable to work at Radio Mogadishu due to what Taakeeye did and how even the incumbent Minister condoned the crime and allowed Taakeeye to remain at the Ministry as an employee.
Three former Radio Mogadishu journalists have come forward to share anecdotal evidence. Mohamed Omar Sheikh, a senior radio journalist, told SSTV, a YouTube channel, that Taakeeye “asked me which clan I belong to. He would kill me if I had disclosed my clan identity” said Mohammed, who added that Taakeeye now is the same person he was in 1991 except the grey hair due to aging. SSTV interviewed Ibado Hussein, who was a reporter at Radio Mogadishu in 1991. She said Taakeeye had murdered the four journalists in Mogadishu “and wore one victim’s clothes and watch”.
Taakeeye’s antics came to light through social media nearly one year ago. He promotes his agenda by sharing with the public his conjugal prowess. He married four wives and vowed to weed out un-Islamic influences in the Somali flag and history. “Taakeeye’s main agenda is to make Islam a platform and safe haven for criminals, rapists, fraud convicts and terrorists” Hussein Ali Ahmed, a businessman in Nairobi told Puntland Post
Several journalists have commented on the massacre of the Somali radio journalists many years after the Taakeeye fled Somalia. The former Somali Foreign Minister Yusuf Garad Omar remembered his former colleagues who were killed in 1991 after United Somali Congress captured Mogadishu. He mentioned the name Abdi Sheikh Ali whom Taakeeye killed along with other radio journalists.
“We must make sure we know the background of anyone claiming to be driven by a religious or patriotic cause because many people could be misled by a person with a dark past, like Taakeeye” says Saeed Afrah, a Somali teacher in Mogadishu
Taakeeye claims that BBC is behind a character assassination campaign against him funded by an Italian organisation. Interviews with Taakeeye have provided a rare insight into the past of a man who claimed that his higher education was funded by the US Government under the condition that he will work on missions. “I am under order not to disclose the terms of my agreement until 2022” Taakeeye said. In another interview Taakeeye said he was not denying reports that he had killed reporters in 1991. Abdulhafid Jama, a Somali TV presenter interviewed the widow of Abdulkadir Ali Idle, and brother of Abdi Sheikh Ali and Mahad Adan Hassan. All interviews with Taakeeye form a pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that, when put together, show how a senior politician aided and abetted a novice radio journalist to murder senior radio journalists and still tries to escape justice.
© Puntland Post, 2021