Minnesota man who returned to rebuild Somalia killed in Mogadishu

A Brooklyn Park man who returned to his native Somalia to rebuild his homeland's capital was fatally shot late Monday.

Family members of Abdullahi Anshoor say Mogadishu police told them a group of gunmen killed the father of three and took his car.

Anshoor, 64, was a prominent civil engineer and city planner who fled Somalia after civil war broke out. He moved to the United States, became a naturalized citizen, earned a master's degree and worked as a housing property manager.

But last year, he chased his dream of returning to Mogadishu. He left last summer to work on the reconstruction of the Somali capital, which has been battered by years of civil war.

Anshoor was working for the International Organization for Migration, said his daughter, Maryan Ali. She said he was a true public servant who believed peace would return to his home country.

"That's what motivated him. He had hoped that things were going to get better," Ali said. "It was a moment for him to participate and rebuild the future for Somalia."

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Family members say the mayor of Mogadishu has vowed to track down Anshoor's killers. It is not clear why he was murdered.

News of his death is rippling throughout Minnesota's Somali community.

Anshoor represents a part of his community who felt compelled to change the course of Somalia's narrative, Somali-American advocate Abdirahman Mukhtar said.

"The professionals who used to be engineers, or doctors, or policemen, or teachers — a lot of them really want to go back and help," Mukhtar said. "They have a life here, they have jobs here, [and] family members here. But they are willing to give that away and go back so the homeland can be safe and they can be part of that rebuilding."