NEWS

Calgary's Somali community saddened by 2 deaths in 2 days

01/03/2015 11:30 EST | Updated 03/05/2015 05:59 EST
Only three days into the near year and the Somali community of Calgary is mourning the loss of another young man.

On Thursday, Abdullahi Ahmed, 26, was killed after a shooting at a southwest Calgary house party that left one person dead and injured six others. On Friday morning, Calgary police responded to a call of gunshots in the northwest community of Rosedale and found a man dead in an alley.

CBC has confirmed that the Rosedale shooting victim was Murad Omar, 23. He had been living in Canada with his family for 11 years. He had just returned to Calgary from a trip to Africa.

Imam Abdi Hersy is a leader in the Somali community and says he is heartbroken by another tragic death in the community. He said he has lost count of how many young Somalis have been killed in Alberta in the last few years but he estimates the number to be around 50.

"It's about time. We need to do something," he said. "The community needs help and  community is part of Calgary and Alberta. They have to be treated as part of the community."

"How long we can wait until another young victim falls short and his life to be cut short. How long?"

Hersy said Omar's mother told him she tried to stop her son from going out that night because of what happened the night before at the New Year's Eve party. As he left, Omar insisted he wouldn't go far.

Calgary police do not believe the two incidents are related at this time. But during a press conference Friday they said  "they are keeping an open mind." 

Police say they are still looking for suspects and appealing to the Somali community for help. Anyone with information is asked to contact police, their diversity resources member at 403-428-8161 or Crime Stoppers.

"We have to do something. We have to encourage our youngsters and the youth to speak up and to break the silence and to communicate and share information with the authority," Hersy said. "Police should not be treated as the enemy."

Hersey wants to meet with police and government leaders to help address the violence in his community.

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