Sheikh Nur Barud Gurhan, one of Somalia's top religious scholars, has died of coronavirus in the capital Mogadishu, a colleague said Wednesday.
Sheikh Bashir Ahmed Salad, head of the Somali Association of Ulema, confirmed that Gurhan died from COVID-19 late Tuesday night.
"I can confirm that the sheikh has died in Demartini hospital after he contracted the coronavirus disease. He was also suffering from diabetes before COVID-19," Salad told the media.
Top political leaders also confirmed his death and offered condolences.
"Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed extends his condolences to the family, relatives and the Somali people at large on the death of Sheikh Nur Barud Gurhan. He was one of the pillars of the Somali Ulema," a statement from the Somali presidency said.
"Sheikh Nur Barud, one of the most renowned Islamic scholars in Somalia and the Horn of Africa, dedicated his entire life to spreading and educating the people about the religion, never shying away from proving the truth in any situation," Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble said on Twitter.
On Tuesday, Somalia recorded 100 coronavirus positive cases, bringing the total COVID-19 cases in the country to 5,373, while at least 9 people died from the disease on Tuesday.
The country’s death toll stands at 163, while the number of recoveries has reached 3,750.
This month the infection rate in Somalia has shot up 52%, according to official data.
The Somali Health Ministry announced on Tuesday that it is investigating if a new COVID-19 variant has been at play in the Horn of African country.
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