Former Toronto journalist among dead in Somalia car bombing: reports
A former Toronto journalist was among those killed Friday after a car bomb went off at a hotel in Somalia’s port city of Kismayo, according to local media organizations.
Somali Journalists Syndicate said in a statement that Hodan Nalayeh died along with another journalist, Mohamed Omar Sahal.
“We pray for the families of the two journalists as we also stand with them during this sad moment,” said Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the group’s secretary general.
According to the organziation, Nalayeh had recently returned to Somalia after living in Canada for years “to help showcase Somalia’s peaceful transformation.”
“Unfortunately, she paid for it with her life.”
Police said the bomb went off at a hotel where local elders and lawmakers had been discussing an upcoming regional election and was followed by gunfire.
They added that the death toll could be high.
The militant Islamist group al Shabaab, which is trying to topple Somalia’s central government, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Hassan Gesey, director of local outlet Radio Dalsan, said that officials have confirmed that Nalayeh and her husband Farid had been killed.
“We lost a really special journalist,” he said.
“She was trying to change the narrative of Somalia.”
At least 10 people are believed to have been killed in the attack.
Global Affairs Canada has not confirmed news of the couple’s deaths but told The Canadian Press that it’s aware of a bombing in Somalia and working to get more information.
Somali Journalists Syndicate said Nalayeh has two children.
She was the host and founder of the show Integration TV, which debuted on CityTV in 2014.
In an interview with Toronto’s Etobicoke Guardian newspaper that year, Nalayeh said her family was one of the first to come to Canada from Somalia in 1984. After living in Edmonton, the family moved to Toronto in 1992.
She told the outlet that her show, which highlights Somali success stories, was inspired by the late Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s crack-cocaine saga. She said the media cast the community in an unfair light.
Tributes to Nalayeh poured in on social media following reports she had been killed.
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said her “endless positivity and her love for people was inspiring.”
With files from Reuters, Nick Logan and The Canadian Press
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