At least 10 people have been killed in an extremist attack in Somalia including Hodan Nalayeh, a prominent Somali-Canadian journalist and her husband. Nalayeh poses on a hill overlooking the city of Garoe, Somalia, in a recent handout photo published to social media. Nalayeh was born in Somalia in 1976, but spent most of her life in Canada, first in Alberta and then in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Hodan Nalayeh, Facebook, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

At least 10 people have been killed in an extremist attack in Somalia including Hodan Nalayeh, a prominent Somali-Canadian journalist and her husband. Nalayeh poses on a hill overlooking the city of Garoe, Somalia, in a recent handout photo published to social media. Nalayeh was born in Somalia in 1976, but spent most of her life in Canada, first in Alberta and then in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Hodan Nalayeh, Facebook, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Loved ones of Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Nalayeh mourn after terrorist attack

She moved back to Somalia last year in an effort to tell positive stories of her home country

Family and friends of Hodan Nalayeh are remembering the Somali-Canadian journalist killed in a terrorist attack this week for her work redefining the global Somali identity through positive storytelling.

Nalayeh, a broadcast reporter born in Somalia with roots in Edmonton and Toronto, died with her husband in an attack at a hotel in the city of Kismayo, Somali officials have said, though Global Affairs Canada have yet to confirm the details of her death.

READ MORE: Somali-Canadian journalist Hodan Naleyeh dies in Somalia extremist attack

She moved back to Somalia last year in an effort to tell positive stories of her home country through an independent media platform: Integration TV. She was seven months pregnant and is survived by her two sons.

“We will remember her as our hero, as somebody who is so invested in making sure the world knew the beauty of the Somali culture, Somali people, of Somalia,” said Farhiya Jama, a friend of Nalayeh’s.

“We lost somebody who wanted a future for us that was reimagined into a healthy image of us,” said the Somali visual storyteller based in Toronto.

Jama said Nalayeh first reached out to her in 2013, after she first started speaking about being a trauma survivor.

“She was constantly finding ways to affirm me, because social media wasn’t a great place for me when I first started sharing my story,” Jama said. “She was one of the first people to support my voice, because our Somali community can be very difficult to navigate when you are pushing against the norms.”

Jama, who is from the same Toronto neighbourhood where Nalayeh lived, said the journalist will always be admired as an important public figure in the Somali diaspora and her work reimagining the Somali identity will have a lasting effect.

Nalayeh wasn’t finished supporting the Somali community, a family member said.

Suad Galow, Nalayeh’s cousin, said she last spoke with the journalist a few weeks ago about launching a new project through her non-profit organization: the Somali Women Foundation.

She said Nalayeh was thrilled about the foundation and wanted to help gather sports equipment to give to kids in Kismayo, Somalia.

Galow, who lives in Fairfax, Va., but is currently in Somalia, went on to say that Nalayeh’s words of encouragement were like having “dreams come back to the country.”

“(It was to) make them smile, make them happy, make them see we care,” said Galow, who is currently in Somalia. “Everyone connected with her word, and supported her.”

Galow said when the family first heard of Nalayeh’s death, they locked themselves in their hotel and prayed and cried.

“It’s a tough day for me and for a lot of people. It’s very difficult to lose someone like her,” she said.

“She was so important, especially for what I’m doing right now empowering young women through sports and peace,” Galow said.

Lidia Abraha, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lorne Seifred (seen here with his dog Char-Lee on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021) and friends Elaine and John Sowik launched Chilliwack Pet Food Bank and More with the hopes of helping pet owners who are struggling to provide their furry family members with food. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Animal owners launch pet food bank in Chilliwack

‘Anywhere we can help, whether it be elderly or someone down on their luck or homeless’

Sam Darkoh in his music video ‘Ruby Fever’ which was shot in Yarrow. (Sterling Gold Production)
VIDEO: Yarrow, Chilliwack backdrop for professionally shot music video of Aldergrove rapper

Lots of hospitality, kind people while filming Ruby Fever, says hip-hop artist Sam Darkoh

Brian VanGarderen is one of four candidates running in the Chilliwack School Board byelection on Feb. 13, 2021. (Submitted photo)
VIDEO: Chilliwack byelection candidate would like to see district-wide connections

Brian Vangarderen hopes Chilliwack school board will focus on policy making and positive connections

Chilliwack is expected to be among the province’s hottest real estate markets in 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Chilliwack housing market projected to be among B.C.’s hottest in 2021

B.C. Real Estate Association projects Chilliwack and District to grow by 17.1 per cent

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon. (Submitted)
Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon funding equity and social change scholarships

One of the scholarships is open to any graduating student in the Chilliwack-Kent electoral district

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
RCMP appeal for witnesses after hit-and-run leaves girl, 17, in critical condition

The Metro Vancouver teenager was found unconscious and critically injured after being hit: police

Most Read