Hodan Nalayeh, a renown Somali-Canadian journalist who used media platforms to rebrand the image of the Somali community, was killed in a hotel attack in Somalia on Friday, July 12, according to Radio Dalsan, an independent radion station in Mogadishu.
According to the report, the pregnant Hodan and her husband, Farid Jama Suleiman, were together in Asasey Hotel located Kismayo when gunmen stormed in.
So far 10 people have been reported dead, including Hodan and her husband. According to officials, the death toll could rise as the hotel security have been battling with the gunmen.
“The attack started with a suicide car bomb blast and then gunmen came into the hotel,” said a Somali official.
"It is hearbreaking to hear the death of Hodan Nalayeh and her husband. She was a motivator and great Somali journalist who introduced media programs on social issues in Somali communities across the globe. She was among the people killed at the hotel in Kismaayo," said Yahye Hanas, the Executive Director of Somaliland Association of Journalists.
Somalia's al-Shabab rebels claimed responsibility for the attack.
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says she is sad and shocked to hear about Hodan's sudden horrific demise.
"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. Hodan's endless positivity and her love for people was inspiring," Horwath tweeted.
Earlier this week, the pregnant journalist posted picture with a description of beautiful atmospheric condition of the ocean near Kismayo.
“People save all their lives to have a retirement at the beach, yet, we have plenty of it and cannot see its value. Let’s appreciate the beautiful blessings we have,” she tweeted.
"It was an incredible day to witness Somalia's beauty on the island of Ilisi."
Nazim Baksh, a Canadian journalist and television producer, described Hodan as a compassionate woman, who was keenly attached with her Somali root.
"Hodan was always keen to showcase the best aspects of her community, whether in the diaspora or back in Somalia, but she would never shy away from tackling controversial topics that made many in her community uneasy. Hodan was an amazing journalist who was never afraid to ask the tough questions and she often did it with style and a smile," said Baksh.
Hodan, a mother of two boys, was born in 1976 in Las Anod, a town located in Somaliland, a peaceful de facto former British Protectorate that broke away from Somaila in 1991. Hodan spent major part of her life in Canada, first in Edmonton and then in Toronto, where she developed her career as a journalist. She was the producer, presenter and founder of Integration TV, a web-based video production company registered in Ontario.