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Memorial set for Swiss victims of Burkina Faso attack

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Memorial set for Swiss victims of Burkina Faso attack
Sion cathedral, site of the memorial service. Photo: Canton of Valais
11:51 CET+01:00
The canton of Valais is set to pay hommage on Friday to two prominent Swiss men who were killed in a terrorist attack this month in Burkina Faso's capital that claimed the lives of 30 people.

Among the victims of the January 15th attack in Ouagadougou were Jean-Noël Rey, 66, the former head of Swiss Post and a former MP, and Georgie Lamon, 81, a former Socialist MP in the canton of Valais.

A public ceremony, organized in agreement with the families of the two men, will be held at the Sion cathedral, starting at 10am, the cantonal government said.

Their bodies arrived in Switzerland on Wednesday night and were to be examined by forensic doctors in Lausanne.

The two men, both of them from Valais, were visiting Burkino Faso to inaugurate a school canteen financed by an aid organization created by Lamon.

They were shot by gunmen in the Cappuccino restaurant, opposite the Splendid Hotel in the centre of Ouagadougu during an attack that was followed by a hostage-taking incident that ended after government soldiers counter-attacked.

Three of at least six attackers were killed by government forces, according to reports.

An Al-Qaeda group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Rey, a member of the Socialist party, served as head of the national post and telecommunications service from 1990 to 1998 after working as a personal assistant to federal cabinet minister Otto Stich.

He subsequently was elected as a federal MP from 2003 to 2007.

His colleague Lamon served as a member of the Valais cantonal parliament from 1989 to 2001.

He was known as an advocate for the mentally and physically disabled.

In the early 1990s, he became involved in a project for literacy and the education of children in Burkino Faso.

The two men have been widely praised for their commitment to public service.

“I'm appalled, shocked,” Jean-Marie Lovey, the bishop of Sion said, according to a report from Le Nouvelliste, a Valais daily newspaper.

“It's all the more revolting that they were struck down in a blind manner while they were there to accomplish good and beautiful things,” Lovey said.

The cantonal government of Valais earlier issued a statement firmly condemning the terrorist attack.

“We salute the memory of these two personalities who marked the economic, political and social life of the canton of Valais and our thoughts go the families and those who were close to the victims,” Jacques Melly, president of the government said.
 

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