Almaas Elman previously worked at the Somali Embassy in Kenya and recently began consulting for the European Union delegation to Somalia, according to friends and former colleagues. She was married in 2017 to Zakaria Hersi, a Somali-Swedish tech entrepreneur.
“I am shocked to the core,” said Mohamed Dubo, a communication specialist in Mogadishu who said he first met Ms. Elman in 2015. Describing her as “a youthful soul that has changed many lives,” Mr. Dubo said it was “hard to internalize this death.”
Ifrah-Sucdi Hassan, a community activist in Ottawa, said Ms. Elman had “always supported my community work.” Reached by phone on Wednesday, Ms. Hassan recalled how Ms. Elman had been one of the first people to donate for an annual youth conference she was organizing a few years ago.
After decades of grinding war, Mogadishu has experienced a revival in recent years, with gleaming new hotels, restaurants and laundromats popping up across the port city. Local entrepreneurs have been betting on this newfound normalcy, advancing the tech scene by creating e-hailing and delivery apps.
But a string of killings in Somalia have taken the lives of people working to improve the Horn of Africa nation. In July, Hodan Nalayeh, a Somali-Canadian journalist, was killed in a terrorist attack on a hotel in the southern port city of Kismayo. The same month, a suicide attack by the Qaeda-linked terrorist group Al Shabab fatally wounded the mayor of Mogadishu, Abdirahman Omar Osman, a British-Somali citizen.
Laetitia Bader, a senior researcher for the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, said Ms. Elman was “a committed, tireless advocate for the countless survivors of sexual violence in Somalia.”
Her death, she said, “reminds us once again of the very real daily dangers facing civilians in Mogadishu. The government needs to thoroughly investigate Almaas’s killing, hold those responsible to account, and work to protect all citizens.”
Hussein Mohamed contributed reporting from Mogadishu.