White-clad marchers pay homage to Burkina victims

2016-01-24 18:50
A man stands in front of Burkina Faso’s national flag during a memorial ceremony in Ouagadougou. (Theo Renaut, AP)

A man stands in front of Burkina Faso’s national flag during a memorial ceremony in Ouagadougou. (Theo Renaut, AP)

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Ouagadougou - Hundreds of people dressed in white took to the streets of Ouagadougou to pay homage to the victims of a jihadist attack on a top hotel and a restaurant that left 30 dead and 70 injured, an AFP reporter said.

Dubbed a "chain of light", the silent march began at 19:40 GMT on Saturday, the exact time that al-Qaeda-affiliated gunmen had launched their deadly attack eight days before.

It was organised over social media by music manager Walib Bara and journalist Raissa Compaore.

"This demonstration was called 'chain of light' because we know that the intention of those who waged the attacks was to plunge the country into darkness," Bara told the press.

"We came to the site of the attack to say that we will continue to drink Cappuccinos in a splendid Burkina," Bara said, using a play on words referencing two of the attack sites - the Cappuccino cafe and the Splendid Hotel, both popular with foreigners.

Marchers sang the national anthem and carried signs reading "je suis Splendid" and "je suis Cappuccino", in a move mirroring the "je suis Charlie" rallying cry used after the January 2015 Paris jihadist attacks.

People walked about a half a mile to the site of the attacks, where they placed candles in a tribute to the victims.

"I'm not afraid to come to the Kwame N'Krumah Avenue because I see the government has taken security measures to protect us," Issouf Cisse, a sales agent working close to the Cappuccino cafe, said.

"Life goes on despite the attacks."

A national tribute is planned for Monday, with President Roch Marc Christian Kabore expected to attend a public ceremony.

The first such attack in Burkina Faso, it was claimed by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and came weeks after Islamists claimed an attack on a top hotel in Bamako, capital of neighbouring Mali

Read more on:    burkina faso

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