Dozens at Toronto vigil pray for Mogadishu bombing victims
'It has been a tough week for us all,' says president of U of T Somali Students Association
Dozens of people lit candles at the University of Toronto on Friday night in memory of the 358 people who died in a truck bombing last weekend in Mogadishu.
Speakers at the vigil said prayers for those killed on Oct. 14, when a truck bomb ripped through a crowded street in the Somali capital. Officials say the attack wounded 228 people, while another 56 people are still missing.
"It has been a tough week for us all," Naima Adan, the president of the Somali Students Association at the school, told the crowd.
Adan said the attack, which she called the "deadliest" in Somali history, has left people around the world "heartbroken." it has saddened people in Toronto, she said.
Adan said the association extends its condolences to the families of people who were killed. She said a prayer for those left behind.
"We ask Allah to have mercy on all of those who lives were taken and ease the pain of all the victims' families," she said.
"We are praying for the well-being of these families, praying for their recovery and praying that whatever happened will never happen again. Let it be known that our lives are valuable, our lives will not be forgotten and our lives will not be ignored."
After her speech, Adan said she spoke at the vigil to show support for her community.
Yasin Dwyer, a chaplain at Ryerson University, offered his condolences to the people of Somalia who lost loved ones, asking in a prayer for guidance, blessing and peace. After he spoke, he told CBC Toronto that he came to the vigil to lend his support.
"When it comes to news that relates to Africa, often times we don't have the same kind of airtime. However, the scale and the horrific nature of the attack compelled much of our media to pay attention," he said.
"One of the most salient characteristics of the people of Somalia is really the will to survive. In light of the political machinations that have affected the country of Somalia, the way they have responded is a testament to their effort to thrive and become a nation again," he said.
Organizers of the candelit vigil collected donations at the event, which was organized in part by the Eastern Africa Students' Association at the University of Toronto.