Somalia and Canada Mourn Journalist Killed in Attack on Somali Hotel Friday

Hodan Nalayeh filming an episode of "Integration TV" in Mogadishu, Somalia in October 2015. (Photo: Hamdi Sbaa, cc)

Somalia and Canada Mourn Journalist Killed in Attack on Somali Hotel Friday

"Hodan Nalayeh came here… to change the narrative on Somalia—the violence, the war."

A militant attack on a hotel in Somalia left 26 dead, including a Canadian journalist.

Among the dead was Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh. Nalayeh's friends and colleagues mourned her death on social media, sharing her work and their regret she was gone so soon.

"Africa, and the world, has lost a shining star who was a force for good," said CNN Africa producer Stephanie Busari. "Rest in Power Hodan."

"Just awful news," Canadian journalist Jesse Brown said. "What a crime, what a waste."

"I'm absolutely devastated by the news of the death of our dear sister Hodan Nalayeh and her husband in a terrorist attack in Somalia today," tweeted Muslim activist Omar Suleiman, who knew Nalayeh and her husband. "What a loss to us. Her beautiful spirit shined through her work and the way she treated people."

The attack began Friday evening with a suicide car bomb followed by three armed men storming the Asasey Hotel. Government forces stood off with the militants for twelve hours before ending the siege Saturday morning.

Somalia has long been riven with unrest and war, but Nalayeh's work focused on "connecting Somali communities of diverse background to share inspiring stories that enhance our society," according to the mission statement of her Integration TV outlet.

In comment to Global News reporter Nick Logan, Hassan Gesey, the executive director of Somalia's Dalsan Media Group, said that the loss of Nalayeh was devastating.

"Hodan Nalayeh came here... to change the narrative on Somalia--the violence, the war," Gesey told Logan. "She was a brilliant journalist."

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