• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Swiss and French among dead in Burkina Faso attack
The jihadists struck a restaurant opposite the four-star hotel where the attackers holed up. Photo: Issouf Sanogo/AFP

Swiss and French among dead in Burkina Faso attack

The Local/AFP · 17 Jan 2016, 18:39

Published: 17 Jan 2016 18:39 GMT+01:00

Most of the victims were Westerners, according to a source close to the investigation, who added that at least five Burkinabe nationals were also among the dead, while 30 people were injured.


Both the Swiss and French foreign ministries confirmed that two each of their citizens were killed when the jihadists struck a restaurant opposite the four-star hotel where the attackers holed up.

The Swiss victims have been identified as Jean-Nöel Rey, 66, the former head of Swiss Post (1990-1998) and ex-MP, and Georgie Lamon, 81, a former Socialist MP in the canton of Valais.

The two men were visiting Burkino Fasso, in connection with an aid group, to inaugurate a school canteen, the ATS news service reported.

The two Swiss citizens were killed at the Cappuccino restaurant, the news agency said. 

"It's dramatic because they have done a lot for this country," David Bagnoud, a nephew of Lamon and mayor of the Valais municipality of Lens, told ATS.

Swiss flags were flying at half mast on Sunday from government buildings in Sion, the capital of Valais where both Swiss victims were from, and from the federal parliament building.

The flags will remain at half mast on Monday, federal government spokesman André Simonazzi, said on Twitter.  

Didier Burkhalter, Swiss federal minister for foreign affairs, said he was profoundly saddened by the attack.

"We condemn this terrorist act with the greatest firmness," he said in a statement.

"We thank the the authorities of the country who intervened to put an end to these acts of violence and we ask that all can be done to find and judge the authors of these attacks."

Burkhalter added that the government's thoughts were with the families of the victims.

Burkina Faso authorities said the bodies of three jihadists had been identified. 

All three were men, the minister said, adding that they were "very young". 

Story continues below…

"Those who have seen them believe they were very young, the oldest no older than 26," said Compaore, adding that the men had arrived to unleash the carnage in vehicles registered in neighbouring Niger.


A security source had earlier said there had been at least four attackers, including two women.

Compaore said 176 people had been rescued. "Most have been able to leave after being questioned," he added.

The gunmen attacked the Splendid hotel and the Cappuccino restaurant opposite, both popular with Westerners, on Friday evening, sparking a standoff with security forces that lasted until Saturday morning.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.ch)

Today's headlines
Bencic joins Federer in opting out of Rio

The Swiss is the latest top 20 tennis star to pull out of Olympics.

Swiss sports court heads to Rio Olympics
CAS has relocated from Lausanne (pictured) to Rio to deal with doping matters. Photo: CAS

The Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has temporarily relocated to Rio so it can make rulings over Olympic doping from the scene.

Police step up security at Geneva airport after tip-off
File photo: eGuide Travel

UPDATE: Police gradually withdraw security measures put in place this morning after an unspecified threat against the building.

Swiss Post gives stamp of approval to Solar Impulse
The new stamp is available from today. Photo: Swiss Post

A new stamp commemorates the incredible journey of two Swiss pilots.

Family of four dies in Swiss motorway crash
The accident happened near Quinto in the canton of Ticino. File photo: Costas Tavernarakis

The accident happened on the A2 in Ticino.

Swiss glacier reveals body of skier missing for 53 years
Morteratsch glacier. Photo: Graubünden police

The 36-year-old German went missing in 1963.

 Federer to miss Rio, rest of season with injury
Federer is recovering from injury. Photo: AFP

Roger Federer will miss the remainder of the season, including next month's Olympic Games in Rio.

Take care around fireworks, Swiss told
Fireworks injure hundreds every year. Photo: myswitzerland.com

Fireworks caused 250 accidents last year in Switzerland – half of them on August 1st.

Missing man found dead in Obwalden forest
The man's body was found close to the wreck of his car. Photo: Obwalden police

A man reported missing in early July has been found dead close to the wreck of his car in central Switzerland.

Confirmed cases of Zika virus soar in Switzerland
The virus is on the march in Switzerland too. Photo: AFP

Switzerland has registered 28 cases of the birth-defect causing Zika virus since the start of the year.

File photo: Chase Elliott Clark
Lifestyle
Study: a fifth of Swiss spy on neighbours
Photo: Katwarn.de
National
Switzerland mulls alarm text message service
Photo: The Local
National
Study: grazing cows are worse for the environment
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Kecko
National
Terror fears trigger Swiss run on guns
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Commune d'Ayent
National
Spectacular Valais ‘bisse’ to feature on new banknote
Photo: Swiss Post
National
Swiss Post moves to accept debit cards – sometimes
Photo: Chris Marquardt
Lifestyle
Police break up dispute over late-night laundry
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Photo: Grand Tours Project
Features
Why you should get on your bike in Switzerland
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: The Local
Society
Swiss village tells landlords: don’t rent homes to refugees
Photo: Rolf Krahl/Christophe G
International
Survey: world willing to pay more for ‘Swissness’
Photo: The Local
International
Chaos in Como after Swiss send back refugees
Photo: AFP/The Local
Lifestyle
Nine top celebrity hotspots in Switzerland
Photo: Graubunden police
National
World-class Swiss climber Norbert Joos dies on ‘home mountain’
Photo: Kathleen Waters
Society
Italian ‘ignored’ by Swiss schools in language wars
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Whitepod
Features
The quirkiest places to stay in Switzerland
International
Migrant busted trying to sneak into Switzerland in a suitcase
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: Jonathan Kos-Read
National
Basel suffers wettest six months for 150 years
Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP
Technology
Why Swiss science could suffer badly from Brexit fallout
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Robert Valencia
International
Swiss couple in Nicaragua told to give back adopted daughter
Photo: Zurich cantonal police
National
Police hunt prisoner on the run in Zurich murder case
Photo: Christoph G
Politics
Switzerland sets out law on expelling foreign criminals
Photo: Bernacqua
Lifestyle
Drone shocks nudists at Swiss waterpark
Photo: Basel Justice and Security Dept
Lifestyle
New signs lay down law and order for Basel prostitutes
4,585
jobs available