At least 12 foreigners from Canada, France, Switzerland, the United States, and the Netherlands are now known to have died in Friday’s attack on a hotel and restaurant in Burkina Faso’s capital, officials say.
Those numbers are expected to rise as local authorities indicated that foreigners from as many as 17 countries were killed in the attack, which happened when suspected al-Qaeda gunmen attacked the Cappuccino restaurant and the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. A total of 176 people were trapped inside their rooms or held hostage for hours before the attackers were killed by security forces.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that 6 Canadian citizens were among those killed. “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 in a statement.
The French government confirmed that two of its citizens had been killed in Friday’s attack, while a third French citizen had been injured. Two other victims were Swiss citizens, one of whom was identified as Jean-Noël Rey, who served in the country’s lower house between 2003 and 2007, and the other as Georgie Lamon, who previously had a seat in the legislature of the canton of Valais.
Also killed was American missionary Michael “Mike” Riddering, according to his wife Amy. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time, as they are with all those affected by this brutality,” said U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby. “Embassy personnel are in touch with local authorities as they continue to assess the situation and are working to assist all U.S. citizens in the area.”
In the Netherlands, Foreign Minister Bert Koenders confirmed that a 67-year-old Dutch man had been killed. The victim was not immediately identified but was described as a volunteer who traveled to Burkina Faso to share his knowledge with the local community. “It is painful and sour that someone who wanted to contribute to the country became the victim of such an act,” Koenders said.
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