A 31-year-old British journalist has been shot dead in Ghana where he had flown to film a documentary.
Syed Taalay Ahmed, who worked for the London-based Muslim TV channel MTA International, was killed in an armed robbery on his vehicle while returning from a filming session at about 7pm local time on Monday 23 August. He died despite being rushed to the Tamale Teaching Hospital.
A local Ghanian colleague, Umaru Abdul Hakim, was also shot but was being treated in hospital. Their driver was not injured.
Ahmed, who grew up in Hartlepool and completed a Masters in Journalism at Sunderland University, is survived by his wife, two young children, parents and siblings.
MTA News, where Ahmed had worked for about seven years, described him as a “devoted and sincere… and much-loved member” of its team who “produced a series of faith-inspiring documentaries and programmes.
“We will miss him every day and strive to build up on the great work he did,” it said.
A colleague of his at MTA International in London, Asif M Basit, wrote that he was “an extremely sincere, honest, hardworking and a selfless” member of the team.
Ahmed was described in a press release issued by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community as a “bright and creative journalist who worked on a number of documentaries ranging from football to faith”. In 2017 he directed a documentary about the history of the Ahmadiyyat Muslim community in Hartlepool. He also worked on the MTA programme This Week With Huzoor.
At the time of his death he was filming a documentary about the positive impact of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Ghana, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. The planned five-week-long trip was the culmination of a year of planning.
Nosherwan Rashid, a friend and colleague of Ahmed at MTA News, told PA: “He really loved what he was doing. He died in the cause of what he loved and serving his religion, which he loved the most.
“As a person he was really humble, encouraging, helpful, cheerful. He was like the life of our department.”
His body is being flown back to the UK on Wednesday (1 September).
According to local reports Ahmed and Hakim were in the northern region of Ghana, travelling from Tamale to the capital city of Accra, when armed men emerged from the bush and opened fire on their vehicle, deflating tyres and forcing it to a halt.
A police report quoted by the Ghanian news website Citi Newsroom said that “some of the bullets penetrated the vehicle and hit the two, who sustained gunshot wounds in the process. The armed men then robbed them of their mobile phones and [an] unspecified amount of money and fled.”
The police later caught up with the suspects, killing two in a shoot-out and arresting a further four, according to local reports. The police said the suspects were believed to have been involved in other robberies.
As many are now aware, earlier this week a most devoted and sincere member of our MTA News team, Syed Taalay Ahmed sahib, lost his life whilst travelling abroad in Ghana on duty in the service of Islam.
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعون pic.twitter.com/RKddQaoisw
— MTA News (@NewsMTA) August 27, 2021