Saskatoon families mourn victims of Somalia attack

The death toll has reached 300 from the truck bomb attack Sunday in the capital city of Mogadishu.

Canada should provide humanitarian — not military — aid, says Open Door Society director

Ali Abukar, executive director of the Saskatoon Open Door Society, says more than 100 Somali-Canadian families in Saskatoon are mourning the victims of the recent attack. (Victoria Dinh/CBC)

Hundreds of Saskatoon residents are mourning those killed and injured in their native Somalia.

The death toll has reached 300 from the truck bomb attack Sunday in the capital city of Mogadishu.

"There is so much loss," said Saskatoon Open Door Society executive director Ali Abukar.

Abukar called his mother in Mogadishu as soon as he heard the news. He was relieved to hear his family was OK, although one of their employees was injured while driving a delivery truck in the area.

"It is tragic. I mean, things have happened in the past that were attacks, but I think we have never seen or heard of something like this," Abukar said.

A truck bomb exploded outside a hotel at a busy junction in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Oct. 14, 2017, causing widespread devastation. (Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images)

He said there are more than 100 Somali-Canadian families in Saskatoon, and they are all praying for the victims.

He expects they will organize some type of event or fundraiser soon.

Don't send in Canadian military: Abukar

Abukar said there's a lot Canada can do to help, but sending in the military again is not one of them.

A previous Canadian military mission to Somalia in the early-1990s ended in failure and scandal.

Abukar said Canada can instead provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by the attack.

He said Canada can also help with longer-term solutions to the conflict and famine plaguing the East African nation.

"We would like also to see a bit more involvement in development and also peacebuilding," Abukar said.

Somalia has seen frequent attacks by terrorists and other groups, but this is the largest single attack in the country's history.