The Swiss government condemned in the strongest terms a terrorist attack in Burkina Faso’s capital that killed 29 people, including two prominent Swiss citizens.
The two Swiss victims have been identified as the former director of the nation’s Post Office, Jean-Noël Rey, and another well-known Social Democratic politician from the canton of Valais, Georgie Lamon.
In a series of tweets at the weekend, Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann said that Switzerland was deeply concerned by the attack in Ouagadougou on Friday night.
Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter said in the statement: “We condemn this terrorist act in the strongest terms, we thank the authorities of the countries that intervened to stop these acts of violence, and we request everything possible be done to track down and prosecute the perpetrators of these attacks. Our thoughts at this time are with the families and relatives of the victims."
Swiss political figures
Rey had served in the House of Representatives between 2003 and 2007. Both he and Lamon, who had served as a public official in Valais and its district of Sierre, were in Burkina Faso to inaugurate a school cafeteria.
The financing was arranged through Lamon’s efforts and involvement with the charitable development group, the Yelen Association.
The jihadist attack targeted the Splendid Hotel and the nearby Cappuccino Cafe, which was popular with westerners and French soldiers fighting the jihadists in the Sahel. The jihadist fighters stormed the restaurant and hotel at dinnertime, apparently intent on killing as many people as possible. The gunfire ended after a more than 12-hour siege.
Rey and Lamon were killed at the restaurant where the attackers sprayed gunfire and set the building on fire. Burkina Faso’s minister of interior security, Simon Compaoré, said at least 29 people were killed and 30 others injured in an attack that was unusual for the West African country.
Burkina Faso declared three days of national mourning for the victims from 18 different countries, which also included the wife and five-year-old daughter of the Italian owner of the Cappuccino Cafe.
The bodies of three jihadist men were identified, none of them older than their mid-twenties, said Compaoré, who also reported that 176 people were rescued. The attack was claimed by the group, Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which also carried out the November attack in Mali’s capital, Bamako, where 170 hostages were taken and 20 of them killed at the Radisson Blu hotel.
swissinfo.ch and agencies