Burkina Faso: Province mourns 6 Quebecers killed in hotel siege

Reactions to the deaths of six Quebecers killed by al-Qaeda-linked assailants in Burkina Faso have begun to roll in from the victims' home province.
French first responders tend to people wounded during an attack led by Al-Qaeda-linked gunmen on the Splendid Hotel and the Cappuccino Café in Burkina Faso. (Nabila El Hadad/AFP/Getty)

Reactions to the deaths of six Quebecers, killed during a 12-hour siege at a luxury hotel in Burkina Faso, have begun to roll in from the victims' home province.

At least 28 people from 18 different countries died Friday when four jihadist attackers linked to al-Qaeda stormed the Splendid Hotel and nearby Cappuccino Café in the capital of Ouagadougou.

All of the Canadians killed were from Quebec.

The federal government has not released details on the Quebec victims, but says Canadian officials are assisting the families affected by the attack.

Though there are few details on the victims, politicians, organizations, and the Burkinabe community in Quebec are offering condolences to the families of the victims.

Humanitarian workers among the dead

Though the federal government said that Canadian aid workers and volunteers were among the victims, no organization has confirmed the death of a Quebecer among their staff.

Oxfam Québec, which has an office in the Burkina Faso capital, took to Twitter to confirm all its staff were safe.

A tweet from Jean Brouillard, a communications specialist in Québec City, said two of his friends who were on humanitarian missions were killed, along with their children.

Politicians: 'Quebec is in shock'
Quebec's International Relations Minister Christine St-Pierre said all of Quebec was in shock after news that 6 Canadians killed in Burkina Faso on Jan. 15 were from the province. (Radio-Canada)

"I think all of Quebec is in shock right now," said Christine St-Pierre, Quebec's minister of international relations.

"It's a shock because every day we see what is happening abroad. There are attacks and terrorism. Today we see that they are Quebecers. Our condolences to the families and to the friends of those [victims]."

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard denounced Friday's attacks, saying that nothing could explain the cowardly acts.

Burkinabe in Montreal: 'It could happen to me'

President of Burkinabe Association of Greater Montreal Aziz Daboné was just in Burkina Faso a few days before the attacks. (Radio-Canada)

"It could happen to me," said Aziz Daboné, President of the Burkinabe Association of Greater Montreal, who returned from Burkina Faso four days ago. 

Daboné said he was in a café about 30 metres away from the Splendid Hotel just last week.

Reacting to reports that the six victims were humanitarian workers, Daboné said it was a loss for his country.

"It's really sad, you know, because we really need this kind of help for our country — we're a poor country. So it's really sad for us and it's really sad for families of all the people that died."

Burkina Faso diplomat: Quebecers 'paid the price'

"I mourn the death of all the victims of this senseless act of terrorism." said Gérard Coulombe, Burkina Faso's honorary consul of Burkina Faso to Montreal, "with a special thought for my Quebec compatriots who never cease to support Burkina Faso's progress and who paid the price for it today"

Coulombe added that Burkina Faso's recently elected president and prime minister would do "everything in their power to combat the terrorists responsible for this despicable attack and ensure the safety of all persons living or sojourning in Ouagadougou or elsewhere in [Burkina Faso]."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement strongly condemning the attack..

"On behalf of all Canadians, we offer our deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of all those killed and a speedy recovery to all those injured. We are deeply saddened by these senseless acts of violence on innocent civilians," he said.

Some of the other victims:

American missionary Mike Riddering, 45, was among those killed in the attacks. He was from Cooper City, Fla., and was in the Ouagadougou when gunmen entered the cafe and opened fire.

He leaves behind four children, two of whom were adopted from Burkina Faso.

A 67-year-old Dutch man was also killed in the cafe. Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders confirmed the news late Saturday but gave no further details.


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