Montreal Burkinabe community mourns Air Algerie plane crash victims

Mamadou Zoungrana of Gatineau is grieving the loss of his wife and two sons in the crash of an Air Algerie plane in Mali.
Photo: CTV Montreal

A candelight vigil held at Parc Marie-Victorin last night paid tribute to the victims of the Air Algerie plane that crash in Mali on Thursday.

Of the 118 people on board, 12 of the victims were from Quebec—almost all from the Burkinabe community, including 4 people from Longueuil.

CTV News Reporter Nadine Ishak was there as the community mourned their loss.

"It started with some spiritual songs, then organizers just asked people to be themselvers, do whatever they needed to do, express whatever they needed to express," she told CJAD News.

"Originally they wanted to light 118 candles for 118 souls [lost in the crash] but the windy conditions made that difficult, so the ones that they could lay down they laid down by the water in a symbolic gesture of laying the souls to rest."

The cause of Thursday's crash isn't yet known, although the aircraft was in the middle of a rainstorm and flying over a conflict zone in northern Mali.

Rita Somda's husband Wilfred and other family members were on the crashed plane.

Somda was supposed to join her family in Algiers, the Algerian capital, for a 50th wedding celebration—but because she was due to give birth any day, Somda remained behind.

"The Burkinabe community is rallying around her, making sure that she's okay," said Ishak.

"Of course, she's due to deliver the couple's second child next week, so the entire community, people she knows and people she doesn't even know, were coming to her home, offering support, hugs, food—anything they could do to let her know that they're there for her."

The Burkinabe Association of Greater Montreal is setting up a crisis and support network for locals. Anyone willing to help can contact the organization at abgmca.org.

 


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