Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday condemned the “heinous” Al-Shabaab extremist attack in Somalia last week that killed 26 people including a Somali-born Canadian journalist.
Last Friday’s attack in the southern port city of Kismayo saw a suicide bomber ram an explosive-laden vehicle into the Medina hotel after which several heavily armed gunmen forced their way inside, sparking a standoff that stretched for 12 hours before security forces regained control.
Among the dead was Hodan Nalayeh, a journalist who was an ardent campaigner for Somali unity and peace and had started an online TV show called “Integration.”
She was killed alongside her husband in the attack that also injured 56 people.
“Ms Nalayeh’s work showcased positive, uplifting, and inspiring Somali stories, and was a testament to the role of the free press in broadening people’s perspectives and defending diversity and inclusion. Her loss is deeply felt in Canada, and in Somali and journalistic communities around the world,” Trudeau said in a statement.
In a recent podcast, Nalayeh said her television program about the Somali diaspora gave the community a voice.
“Social media has changed the game for how people learn about culture. So, if we don’t become the creators of our own content, we are going to be at the mercy of other people telling the stories of Africa,” she had said.
Her death was also condemned by Canada’s Somalia-born immigration minister Ahmed Hussen.
“Through her work as a journalist, Hodan highlighted the community’s positive stories and contributions in Canada. She became a voice for many,” he wrote on Twitter.