Two Portuguese feared dead in Burkina Faso terror attacks

Two Portuguese are feared to have died during the terror attacks in Burkina Faso, West Africa, last Friday that killed 29 from 18 nationalities and left 150 injured.

For the moment, Portuguese authorities have only confirmed the death of one national, but government sources in the stricken country say there were two – and still seven bodies to identify.

The confirmed Portuguese victim was transport company employee António Oliveira Basto – a 52-year-old father-of-four, and long-term émigré to France.

Originally from the Porto area, but in France since childhood, Basto telephoned his wife Christine shortly before the attack on the Cappuccino restaurant in Ouagadougou to “promise” they would have a special dinner to celebrate 32 years of marriage.

According to national tabloid Correio da Manhã, at the end of the conversation, he mentioned he was going out to dinner with a couple of friends from work.

Shortly afterwards, armed terrorists from two different Islamic groups linked to Al-Qaeda burst into the Cappuccino cafe and adjacent Hotel Splendid, firing indiscriminately.

Basto and his colleagues were among the victims, while another Portuguese in the hotel is understood to have escaped the bloodshed unharmed.

This latest attack brings the number of Portuguese killed in terror attacks since last summer to four (if not five – depending on whether or not the second victim is confirmed later today).

Others killed were Maria da Glória, in the attack on a Tunisian beach in Sousse last July, and Manuel Colaço Dias and Precília Correia, who were both killed in the Paris terror attacks in November.

According to Diário de Notícias, since 9/11, a total of 12 Portuguese have died as a result of terrorism.

The paper quotes José Manuel Anes, president of the consultive council of Portugal’s Observatory on Safety, Organised Crime and Terrorism, as saying the risk of suffering a terrorist attack are increasingly exponentially “even for the Portuguese”.

In a report in the Sunday Times, survivors told how their attackers were seeking out people with white skin.

According to one of António Basto’s three daughters (he also had a six-year-old son), it was the first time her father had travelled to Burkina Faso.

Other members of staff at Scales transport company have said they are now “worried” about continuing in the country.

CM’s report today traces the “trail of blood” that terrorism has caused in the first few days of 2016.

Only 18 days into the first month of the year, there have been attacks in Tel-Aviv (January 1: Arab-Israeli terrorist kills two people); Paris (January 7: armed man brought down by police); Cairo (January 7: three tourists killed in bus and hotel attack); Istanbul: ( January 12: Daesh suicide bomber kills 11); Jakarta (Daesh claims attack that kills four) and now west Africa.

Meantime, international media is carrying stories on the collapse of tourist markets in sensitive countries like Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com