The six Quebeckers killed in cold blood in a terrorist attack in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, never had the opportunity to flee. They were the first targets of the three al-Qaeda attackers in the Islamic Maghreb.

The six Coroner’s Office reports, signed by Andrée Kronström, were made public on Friday, more than two years after the tragedy that occurred on January 15, 2016. The documents are based on the results of the autopsies, the Gendarmerie investigation. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the testimonies of relatives of the victims collected by the coroner. 

According to the common narrative embedded in each of the six reports, Quebeckers, who had sat on the terrace of Café Capuccino at 7:15 pm, were the first to find themselves on the path of terrorists. 

The horror scene is as follows: “At 19:30, two men, whose long coats camouflage assault weapons, walk to the terrace of the cafe. A third man is positioned on the opposite platform. The two attackers pass in front of the hedge of plants which bounds the terrace. They go to the entrance of the café and see on their right the group of Quebecers gathered around two tables. They draw their weapons. Gunshots reach Quebecers first and then many others. “

Reporting on the findings of the RCMP investigators who traveled to Burkina Faso, coroner Kronström said that “terrorists fired randomly.” In addition to the Capuccino coffee, the attackers besieged the Splendid Hotel, in the building located just in front of the restaurant. 

The terrace of Cappucino was completely devastated by fires caused by smoke bombs launched during the attack. Once the flames were extinguished and the area secured, Burkinabe firefighters found ten victims, including six Quebecers. According to the results of the autopsies practiced in Montreal, the latter all succumbed to their wounds caused by the assault weapons, and not by the fire.  

The attack resulted in a total of 30 deaths. The three attackers, who had fled, were shot early the next morning by Burkinabe forces.

Quebec in mourning

The attack caused a real shock wave in the Quebec City area. In the hours that followed, we learned with horror the identity of the six Quebec victims. The authorities confirmed the deaths of Charles-Elie Carrier, his father Yves Carrier, his half-sister Maude Carrier, his mother Gladys Chamberland, and their friends Louis Chabot and Suzanne Bernier. The members of the Carrier family were from Lac-Beauport. Mr. Chabot lived in L’Ancienne-Lorette and Ms. Bernier in Quebec City.

The group was in Burkina Faso to help build a school for the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Part of them had to leave Burkina Faso on the day of the attack.

The coroner is careful to point out that “all the precautions” had been taken by the humanitarian volunteers before traveling to this African country. Since the attack, the Canadian government has recommended avoiding any stay in Burkina Faso.

The international investigation by Canada and other countries is still under way to bring the perpetrators to justice, Kronstöm said.