MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Members of the Twin Cities Somali community will be holding a vigil Monday afternoon to pray for victims and survivors of a terrorist truck bombing in Somalia over the weekend.
At least 300 people are dead and 200 injured after the attack in the capital of Mogadishu over the weekend. It’s being called the deadliest terrorist attack in the nation’s history.
A Minnesotan is among the dead. Ahmed Eyow of Bloomington had been in Mogadishu for just a few hours when he was killed in the explosion.
Government officials say the terror group al-Shabaab, which has ties to Al-Quaeda, is to blame. However, so far, al-Shabaab has not claimed responsibility.
There are many people in Minnesota who have relatives in Mogadishu and Somalia that they have not been able to reach.
A family member of the one known Minnesota victim say they are overwhelmed with grief and comforted by the support they have received.
Eyow, of Bloomington, was on a short trip to Somalia and was in his hotel when the car bomb exploded. The welder, who was working on a master’s degree, leaves behind a wife and three children.
Ahmed Hirsi, the husband of State Representative Ilhan Omar, was sharing images on social media of an ordinary day in Mogadishu when his posts took a dramatic turn:
For many of his 9,000 followers, including his wife, this was the first they heard of the bombing.
“A lot of his friends on social media were commenting, ‘Stop joking, this is not real,” Rep. Omar said.
Hirsi arrived back in the Twin Cities this afternoon.
“He is lucky to be here, but he also feels survivor’s guilt,” Rep. Omar said.
Many families in the Twin Cities still haven’t heard from their loved ones in Mogadishu.
“I have a niece whose cousin is missing,” Rep. Omar said.
At an afternoon news conference, community leaders pleaded for help for the victims and criticized President Trump for not condemning the attack.
“If this attack had targeted people of either faith or other races, we believe he would have made an immediate comment on his social media or in another form of statement,” Jaylani Hussein, The Executive Director of CAIR Minnesota, said.
While the president has not personally commented, the U.S. State Department did issue a statement Sunday condemning the attack in “the strongest of terms.”
A vigil for the victims will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Brian Coyle Center in Minneapolis.
Dar Al FArooq mosque, which Ahmed Eyow attended, has set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with expenses. There’s also a GoFundMe to help the victims in Somalia, and another set up by a group of local students.