Local press reported that police in the central city of Beledweyn arrested Omar Shire Husein Sunday evening after his four young children — Yahye, 7, twins Idiris and Sakariye, 6, and Yonis, 3 — were found dead.
"He has taken my blood!" wailed the boys' mother Qadro Husein Addawe, reached by telephone in Mogadishu. "I don't have anything. I lost my children and I don't have anyone to help me now."
Addawe, 29, said Husein, 60, spent 30 years driving a taxi in Calgary and another Canadian city she could not recall, and she married him in 2005 in the hope of having a better life.
"He's a (Canadian) citizen," she said.
Hiiraan Online, a Somali news website, reported Husein had also worked in Yellowknife.
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development said they were aware of a "possible consular situation" in Somalia, but had not been contacted for assistance.
Addawe said they were married in Ethiopia and then moved to Kenya, where they had their first boy. They went next to Uganda, where the twins were born, and then moved back to Somalia, where they had their last child in 2010.
Once established in Beledweyn, Husein started threatening Addawe and the boys, she said. Shortly afterward, she fell ill and was forced to leave her sons in the care of a relative while she made the long journey to the capital, Mogadishu, so she could receive proper treatment in a hospital.
Around this same time, Husein stopped supporting her financially, she said.
She contacted Canadian diplomats repeatedly in an attempt to get papers to allow her and the children to immigrate to Canada but says she was rebuffed.
She received a call from the Beledweyn police at 8:30 a.m. Monday, telling her about the murders and the arrest.
"I have been his wife for eight years. I know his character," she said. "His problem, I don't understand. This man is crazy."
"He said he wanted to attack me. I prayed to Allah … now he's killed them."
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister John Baird announced $6 million on Tuesday "to contribute to promoting greater regional stability and sustainable peace and security in Somalia," according to a press release.
Baird met with Somali officials in Ottawa and made the pledge in addition to the $37.7 million provided by Canada this year to humanitarian organizations working in Somalia and with Somali refugees in neighbouring countries.
Canada re-established diplomatic relations with Somalia this year after a 20-year hiatus, during which the country has been riven by civil war.
"Canada has a large Somali community, which contributes to the economic and social fabric of our country," said Etobicoke Centre MP Ted Opitz following the funding announcement. "Today's discussions helped strengthen our relations and our strong people-to-people ties."
Addawe, who still wants to move to Canada, has two children, aged 11 and 12, from a previous marriage. They have been by her side since she received the fateful call.