At least 16 Nigerian Muslim pilgrims were recently killed in Burkina Faso on their way to Kaolak, Senegal.
The pilgrims, members of the Islamic Tijaniyat sect, were allegedly on their way to their leader’s home country when the bus conveying them was attacked by Burkinabé soldiers.
Kaolak in Senegal was the home of the famous late Tijaniya leader, Ibrahim Niyas.
According to the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), the Jam’iyyatu Ansariddeen Attijaniyya of Nigeria at a news conference on Sunday in Abuja announced that the victims were its members.
“The national secretary of the Islamic group, Sayyidi Yahaya, said the Ansaruddeen members were randomly selected and cold-bloodedly shot to death in a most horrendous display of bestiality after being stopped by the Burkinabe soldiers,” NiDCOM said in a Tuesday statement.
The NiDCOM boss, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, described the event as unjustifiable, callous and criminal.
She urged the Burkinabe authorities to fish out the perpetrators and prosecute them accordingly.
Before the NiDCOM statement, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari had expressed his condolences and prayed for the safety of other Nigerians stranded there.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Nigerian Embassy in Burkina Faso, is engaging with the Burkinabe authorities and awaits the outcome of their investigation of the unfortunate incident, and if necessary, to ensure that all culprits are appropriately sanctioned,” Garba Shehu, President Buhari’s spokesperson, said.
“The Nigerian Government will make every effort to secure the mortal remains of the deceased and the survivors of the attack,” Mr Shehu wrote.
According to Al Jazeera, Burkina Faso’s foreign affairs minister Olivia Rouamba met with Nigeria’s ambassador to the country on Monday to discuss the killings.
“For the time being there is no concrete information or element picked up on the field that proves the veracity of these facts,” Al Jazeera quoted Ms Rouamba as saying in a statement after the meeting.
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She added that authorities had strongly discouraged travel through the north due to “huge risks” of attacks.
Burkina Faso has been rocked since 2015 by attacks by groups linked to Al -Qaeda and the Islamic State, and their clashes with the armed forces have left thousands dead and about two million people displaced. The country also witnessed two military coups in 2022.
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