Skip to content

She was a precious gift to me but Allah had a different plan for her

Hinda Yusuf whose daughter Dr. Maryam Abdullahi said her loss was a tragedy to the family. Photo: Goobjoog News

As a mother, I feel the pain of losing her; a precious gift to us and the Somali people but as a Muslim I must exercise patience.

The two children had come to relieve me in the afternoon after they arrived from school. Minutes later, a huge explosion went off around Zope area and I never saw them again.

He used to have a passion for photo journalism and I saw many recordings he sent to VoA. He reached his goal by working with VOA on a temporary basis and he had been promised to be hired as full time staffer.

He had just stayed four hours in the country after coming back for a second time after 26 years. He had hopes of building a library in Mogadishu. He was prospecting for business in Mogadishu after working in an automobile assembly in the US for many years.

Student’s dreams shattered, hopes of a family dashed, a nation robbed on its daughter and human resource. A father’s struggles to fend for family compounded the more. Aspirations of a budding photojournalist nipped in the bud. A tragic return to motherland.

They were not merely statistics. They were family, a nation, and fellow human beings. They were no children of a lesser god.

It is exactly one month since a monster truck drove into Mogadishu and forever cast October 14 a day of infamy in Somalia. Over 400 lives wiped from the face of the earth in the most tragic and painful way.

Dr. Maryan Abdullahi had just completed her studies after six years of steadfastly pursuing her dream of being a medical doctor. She was enrolled at Banadir University in Mogadishu and like all her colleagues, the excitement of finally graduating, looking for a job and giving back to the society as she sought to build her own life was abundant.

Apart from being my sister, Dr. Maryam was my close friend too. Since we shared the same profession, what we used to chat about was on how to develop public health especially maternal field-Anfar Abdullahi

She would be among the few medical practitioners in Somalia who would provide much needed medical services in a country gradually emerging from decades of civil war and state collapse. But fate was to decide otherwise for Maryam. Two years before Maryam enrolled for her studies in 2011, a man dressed in a black burqa found way into Shamo hotel the venue of Banadir University medical school graduation ceremony and detonated an explosive device killing 19 people among them at least 9 graduands.

The dreams of many of Maryam’s ilk have never been deterred from pursuing their lives’ dreams, the existential threats notwithstanding.

“We discussed the impending arrival of her father and she made the house tidy and perfect. Then she told me that she would be visiting the ultrasound clinic she used to work and will come back quickly but Allah had a different plan for her,” Maryam’s mother Hinda Yusuf said.

Pensively, Hinda said, “On the fateful day I did not call her like I used to do before.”

“Maryan used to reiterate that she wants to be self-dependent so that she would do her masters degree without any support from her family.”

A father’s joy to attend her daughter’s graduation especially having to travel from a foreign country to witness and celebrate the daughter’s achievement could not be gainsaid for Mohamed. But that momentary joy was cut short at an airport in London when news channels broke the story of a truck bombing in Mogadishu.

We wrote together our the university thesis with Maryan Abdullahi Mohamed. I came to know her in 2011 during entry exams admission to Banadir University-

Maryama Sheikh Hassan Jim’ale

“I was in UK inside the airport travelling to Somalia when the incident occurred. It was my promise to take part in her graduation party. I was told Maryan Abdullahi was among the dead people and I jetted into the country at 8am to take part in her funeral,” Abdullahi Yusuf told Goobjoog News.


Ahmed Eyow’s dream of setting up a library in Mogadishu and like many other Somali diaspora casting his eyes home after 26 years in the United States folded up in the afternoon of October 14.

“He had just spent four hours in the country. We talked last when he was in Nairobi but did not call him when he arrived here because I wanted him to rest then we would catch up in the evening,” his close friend and relative Mohamed Dahir Farah told Goobjoog News.

Ahmed Eyow (second from right) during his graduation in the US. File Photo: Family

But it was never to be, Farah said as he painfully narrated what transpired thereafter. “I managed to access the site shortly after the explosion and the search began. A staffer at Safari Hotel who knew him told me which room he had booked.”

“I finally made way into a section of the collapsed building where his room was located at 1am. Moving the rubble was the most difficult bit. I found his body still burning and had to get water to extinguish the flames.”

As Farah struggled into the night, Eyow’s family in the US were making frantic calls. When I established to near certainty it was him, one difficulty bit remained. The family wanted to be sure it was indeed Eyow’s body. They wanted a specimen for DNA testing.

I finally managed to get a part from his body and sent it to Nairobi the following day.

“He would like to open a library in Somalia, that’s what he all the time talked about,” Bashir Eyow, brother to Ahmed was quoted by NBC News in the US. “He wanted to see more education in Somalia.”