Somali-Canadian human rights activist Almaas Elman Ali was killed by a stray bullet in Mogadishu, Somalia on Wednesday while travelling in the city’s fortified airport complex which is home to several international embassies.
“She was riding in a car along a road inside the airport. A stray bullet hit her, and she died within a few minutes,” claimed security official Mohamed Omar.
The country which has been rocked by years of civil war has only recently been trying to rebuild.
In 2017, nearly 600 people were killed in a dual-bombing carried out in the capital by the jihadist group Al-Shabaab which seeks to topple the recently formed government. The attack was the largest ever to be conducted in the country.
Ali was in the country to attend a meeting at the Elman Peace centre, which was founded by her father, Elman Ali Ahmed who was also killed in 1996 by gunmen.
The centre was responsible for projects that encouraged youth literacy and promoted peace, such as the “Drop the Gun, Pick up the Pen” program.
Ali’s sister, Ilwad Elman is also a human rights activist and she was recommended to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019. Ali’s mother and sisters fled the country to Canada in the 1990’s while it was embroiled in civil war.
While Al-Shabaab was forced out of the nation’s capital by government and African Union forces in 2011, the group still frequently conducts attacks in the city.
Earlier this year, the airport compound where Ali was killed was attacked by mortar fire resulting in six injuries.
In 2018, the Canadian government provided $18 million in humanitarian aid to Somalia.