Mourners attend the burial of Ahmed Hussein-Suale on Jan. 18 in Accra, Ghana. The investigative journalist was shot dead by gunmen on motorbikes two d
Mourners attend the burial of Ahmed Hussein-Suale on Jan. 18 in Accra, Ghana. The investigative journalist was shot dead by gunmen on motorbikes two days earlier. (AP) (Ap Photo/AP)
On Jan. 16, our colleague Ahmed Hussein-Suale was assassinated. He was killed around midnight near his family home in Madina, a vibrant Muslim market town near Accra, Ghana’s capital.
In the dry season, the night in Madina smells like wood smoke and spiced rice. The call to prayer comes like clockwork. The bubbling market is alive at all hours. Some residents are middle class, some are poor, but this is not the violent, desperate Africa fetishized by first-world movies and charities. One never hears gunfire.
Then, three weeks ago, shots rang out. Ahmed was driving his car when men on motorbikes shot him in the chest and throat. Dying, he crashed into a shop. They followed him in and finished him off. His wife and young children survive. First, we stifled grief and did practical things. We increased security. We attended to his family. We rallied press freedom groups and allies in governments. We began assisting the Ghanaian police investigation, which is ongoing. (Ghana’s president has demanded that the“perpetrators of this heinous crime” be brought to justice.)
Today we gather in Accra to honor Ahmed, a fearless undercover journalist and one of our team for nearly a decade. Ahmed was unassuming, respectful, hardworking, devout. He never shirked his responsibilities as a father and a husband. He died because he dared to expose how power and secrecy enrich the corrupt.