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Canadian killed in Jakarta attack ‘loved Indonesia so much’

Indonesian police bomb squad members walk to the site of a blast at Thamrin business district in Jakarta, January 14, 2016.

BEAWIHARTA/REUTERS

The six Quebeckers killed in the attack in Burkina Faso on Friday were not the first Canadian victims of terror in recent days. One day before that deadly assault in Africa, Tahar Amer-Ouali, a Canadian audiologist who built a long business career outfitting thousands of Quebeckers with hearing aids, died in a raid in Jakarta.

Mr. Amer-Ouali, a 70-year-old Laval resident, was one of four people killed Thursday in a bomb and gunfire attack on a Starbucks café and police post in the Indonesian capital, family confirmed on the weekend. His brother, Mourad Amer-Ouali, was visiting from Algeria and was injured in the attack. He remains in hospital but is expected to recover.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which wounded more than two dozen people. Four attackers also died. Indonesian police arrested a dozen people across the country on Sunday, including the man suspected of planning and financing the assault, the Associated Press reported.

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Mr. Amer-Ouali, a father of five with several grandchildren, came to Canada from Algeria in the 1980s. He launched several hearing-aid clinics in the Montreal area and was among the founders of the province's order of audioprosthetists.

"We're from Algeria, we came here so we could have a better future, so we could study. After all these years, we now call Canada home. It's thanks to him and the sacrifices he made in order to be here," Farid Amer-Ouali, the eldest son, told CTV News.

Business success and the travel bug allowed Mr. Amer-Ouali to climb mountains and travel frequently in his later years. He spent a large part of his time in Indonesia since 2011, according to family. The family hearing-aid businesses in Montreal were passed on to a son and a daughter.

Bushido Bintari, the Indonesian daughter of Mr. Amer-Ouali's ex-girlfriend, said several trips a day to Starbucks for a double espresso were part of his routine in Jakarta.

Ms. Bintari said she had a "great two years of being his daughter" and thanked him for the lessons he taught her. "They are priceless and timeless. His words will always stay alive," she said.

Mr. Amer-Ouali "loved Indonesia so much that he wanted to spend the rest of his life here," she said.

Farid Amer-Ouali, a Montreal-area physician, said his father split his time between Indonesia and Canada, and had turned his part-time business attention to getting hearing aids to poor people overseas. But he was mostly overseas because he loved Indonesia and Jakarta, he said.

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"He was a caring man, lived life to the fullest. We'll miss him tremendously," Farid Amer-Ouali said.

Friend and fellow hearing-aid specialist Pierre Vallée told La Presse he often went to Mr. Amer-Ouali for travel advice. "He loved to go off the beaten path," Mr. Vallée said. "It often happened that I'd call him about this or that and he'd be on top of a mountain somewhere."

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About the Author
National correspondent

Les Perreaux joined the Montreal bureau of the Globe and Mail in 2008. He previously worked for the Canadian Press covering national and international affairs, including federal and Quebec politics and the war in Afghanistan. More

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