Bur’i Mohamed Hamza, has during the turbulent times of his motherland Somali called Toronto Canada home. Ever since he got ministerial appointed in the Federal Republic Establishment, he had been travelling between Mogadishu and Toronto quite often.
Him and 15 others were killed on Saturday when gunmen stormed a hotel in the country’s capital in an hours-long attack that reportedly began with a suicide bomber detonating a vehicle loaded with explosives. According to Reuters, Hotel Naso-Hablod in Mogadishu was always frequented by many government officials.
“We attacked the hotel which was frequented by the apostate government members,” al Shabaab military operations spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters.
Hamza died when his room at Mogadishu’s Nasa-Hablod hotel collapsed from the force of the powerful car bomb, the Associated Press reported Sunday.
On 20 August 2012, Hamza was among the legislators nominated to the newly established Federal Parliament of Somalia. He has served as State Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, State Minister of Finance, and State Minister of Premier’s Office for Environment.
According to a Canadian Publisher CBC news, Hamza was a family man, with a wife and two children — a daughter, Raja, and a son, Mohamed, both in their 20s — who lived in Woodbridge, Ont., a suburb northwest of Toronto.
Neighbour Abdiqani Ismail told CBC News that Hamza held dual Somali-Canadian citizenship and the two had been good friends for about 20 years.
Ismail said he last saw his friend in May, when Hamza had spent a week in Woodbridge.
“Even in May, we questioned, ‘What about safety, Buri?'” Ismail said.
“He said, ‘Abdiqani, we cannot, all of us, run away from reality … We cannot run away from the country. We have to sacrifice,'” Ismail said.
In a statement Sunday, Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud also condemned the attacks, which have raised concerns about the security of hotels in the seaside capital. Mogadishu has been targeted by al-Shabaab in recent years.
“The trend and lethality of such attacks suggest how vulnerable the security of hotels and the city in general are now,” Mohamed Sheikh Abdi, a Somali political analyst told the Associated Press.
Friends of Hamza told CBC News that anytime he visited Toronto, they would gather to have a dinner in his honour. On Sunday, they did so again — this time to celebrate his life and mourn his loss.
“We would always ask, ‘Are you not worried about your safety?'” Rashad Ali said. “He would always come back with the same answer: If we didn’t sacrifice, if we didn’t go back, then who would?'”
“He died through sacrifice,” Ismail said Sunday.
If it was for the betterment of Somalia, Buri would do it, Ismail said.
“Buri was not a normal individual. He was a light in Somali society,” Ismaili said. “He was a light.”
Sources: Associated Press, Reuters, Wikipedia and CBC News/ East Africa Daily