Canada condemns terrorist attack and bombing that killed Somali-Canadian journalist
Published Friday, July 12, 2019 7:08PM EDT Last Updated Saturday, July 13, 2019 5:18PM EDT
Hodan Nalayeh, a Somali-Canadian journalist who built a career telling uplifting stories of the Somali community, has died in a hotel attack in Somalia, according to local media.
Nalayeh and her husband, Farid Jama Suleiman, were killed after gunmen stormed a hotel in the port city of Kismayo on Friday, according to Mogadishu-based independent radio station Radio Dalsan.
At least 26 people were killed in the attack, which a Somali official said started with a suicide car bomb before gunmen stormed the Asasey Hotel.
Somalia's al-Shabab Islamic rebels claimed responsibility for the attack.
The official says those killed include one Canadian, one Briton, two Americans, three Kenyans and three Tanzanians. Fifty-six people, including two Chinese, were also injured in the attack.
“Canada condemns this terrorist attack and bombing in Somalia,” a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said in a statement.
“Canadian government consular officials in Nairobi, Kenya, are in contact with local authorities in Somalia.”
Nalayeh, a mother of two boys, was born in Somalia in 1976 and spent the majority of her life in Canada, where she developed her career as a journalist. She lived in Alberta before moving to Toronto and started her own web-based video production company, Integration TV, which provided content to Somali viewers in Canada and around the world.
After reports broke of her death, her YouTube channel was flooded with comments of condolences from viewers. Many thanked her for her inspiring coverage.
Nalayeh’s reporting often profiled trailblazing Somalis and people with heartwarming stories, such as a group of female entrepreneurs or a single mother of five who adopted a toddler. Once, she interviewed former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne for Integration TV, which she founded in 2014.
Nalayeh was also the founder of the Somali Refugees Awareness Project, a non-profit organization that advocates for Somali refugees across the world.
Ahmed Hussen, Canada's minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, expressed his grief on Twitter.
He says through her work as a journalist, Nalayeh highlighted the (Somali) community's positive stories and contributions in Canada.
"She became a voice for many," said Hussen, who is also the former national president of the Canadian Somali Congress.
"We mourn her loss deeply, and all others killed in the #KismayoAttack."
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she was saddened to learn of Nalayeh’s death.
"I am so sad and shocked to learn of the tragic death of @HodanTV and her husband Farid in a terrorist attack, along with other victims of this hate-fuelled violence," Horwath said on Twitter.
"Hodan's endless positivity and her love for people was inspiring."
Earlier this week, Naleyeh tweeted an image of a sunset over the ocean near Kismayo.
“People save all their lives to have a retirement by the beach, yet, we have plenty of it and cannot see its value. Let’s appreciate the beautiful blessings we have,” she tweeted.
--- With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press