Education International
Education International

Canadian educators killed in deadly Burkina Faso attacks

published 19 January 2016 updated 2 March 2016

Education International has learned that members of its Quebec affiliate were among the 29 people killed during last weekend’s attack on a hotel by gunmen in Ouagadougou.

Among those killed at the Spendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, six were of Quebecois nationality, including four development aid volunteers affiliated to the Centrale des Syndicats du Québec(CSQ), member of Education International (EI) in the Canadian region of Québec.

Louise Chabot, CSQ President, has issued an official statement on the union’s website today, claiming that her organization “firmly condemns the attacks [on those who] were involved in a humanitarian mission in Burkina Faso, making proof of outstanding solidarity to help Burkinabe people”.

Four of the six victims were active teachers or pensioners from the education sector. “Most victims from Québec were engaged in the education sector – it is hence a tragedy for the whole country”, underlined Chabot.

Institutional reactions

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke Sunday about the attack that began late Friday and ended Saturday. "Yesterday we got terrible news of violent terrorism in Burkina Faso where six Canadian people were killed," said Trudeau, before leading a moment of silence at Peterborough, Ontario’s Masjid al-Salaam mosque to honour the Quebecers.

The CSQ offered its condolences to the families and next-to-kin of the victims and to the workers of the secondary schools Cardinal-Roy, Boudreau, Jean-de-Brébeuf and the primary schools Saint-Albert-le-Grand et Saint-Paul Apôtre.

The CSQ has a long history of cooperation with the national education trade union of Burkina Faso SNEAB, especially regarding education for sustainable development. The trade union has notably helped establish a network of green schools in the country.

Education International General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen has contacted the CSQ with a condolence letter in which he regrets the loss of the aid workers “at the end of a successful solidarity mission in benefit of the Burkinabe educational community”.