APDC perspective on attacks in Ouagadougou

by Judy Gray, WNC director, with information from Charles Tankoano

We recently received the following information from Charles Tankoano, coordinator of APDC, our partner NGO in Burkina Faso. I had emailed to ask for on-the-ground information about the horrible massacre that took place in the capital city, Ouagadougou, on January 16, 2016. Though our project activities take place in the Fada n’Gourma region, about 200 km. east of Ouagadougou, the recent attack on innocent people has resulted in a dramatic reaction from the populace. Here is a translation of Charles’ email: “Thank you for your concern about this drama in Ouagadougou. We are doing well but no one is happy with these attacks by Muslim extremists. They undermine the security that our country has been benefitting from, and which had rendered this landlocked and impoverished country attractive to other countries and peoples. Peace, stability and security had been preserved until that day and had allowed Burkina Faso to be a country open to the world. These deadly attacks will likely have a significant negative impact on the dynamism of tourist visits to this country,  especially those visiting from western countries. Despite this recent problem, the Burkinabé people continue their daily activities throughout the country and calm has returned. The army and all other security forces have divided the country into sectors in order to ensure greater oversight and control. The leaders of the neighbouring West African countries are pooling their efforts and discussing strategies to better cope with this threat.”

For more information on the Al-Qaeda attack, please click on one of the following links: BBC or CBC .

My husband and I are planning a trip to the World Neighbours Canada project area in March (2016) to strengthen the communication we initiated last year and to obtain information for the Government of Canada grant we received in July 2015 ( Maternal Newborn Health initiative – GAC grant ) We are assessing the risk of travel to Burkina Faso before confirming our plans.

I have also included Charles’ own words describing the recent attacks: “Nous vous remercions de votre soutien par rapport à ce drame de Ouagadougou. Nous nous portons bien mais personne n’est heureux de ces attaques des extrémistes musulmans. Cela entame la sécurité que notre pays bénéficiait et qui donnait à ce pays enclavé et pauvre l’attraction de nombreux pays et groupes amis. La paix, la stabilité et la sécurité préservée jusque-là avaient fait du Burkina,un pays ouvert au monde. Ces attentats meurtriers auront sans doute une conséquence négative importante sur le dynamisme de la fréquentation du pays par divers ressortissants d’autres pays surtout des pays occidentaux.
Malgré ce problème la population continue les activités partout et le calme est revenu. L’armée et toutes les autres forces de sécurité et de l’ordre ont quadrillé le pays afin d’assurer une plus grande surveillance et contrôle. Les responsables des pays de la sous-région (Afrique de l’Ouest) sont en réflexion afin de mutualiser leurs efforts et stratégies afin de mieux faire face à cette menace.”

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