Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The World Mourns the Death of Leila Alaoui

Tributes have poured in from around the world for distinguished French-Moroccan photographer, Leila Alaoui, who become the victim of the terror attack, which struck the heart of Burkina Faso’s capital last week

Morocco’s MAP news agency reported that Leila Alaoui, who was severely wounded by jihadi gunman in Ouagadougou last Friday, died from her injuries late on Monday. The French culture minister, Fleur Pellerin, later confirmed the news on Twitter.

The 33-year-old’s death raised the toll to 30, after the attack on Ouagadougou’s Splendid hotel and the nearby Cappuccino café.  Alaoui and her driver Mahamadi Ouédraogo were sitting in a parked car when they were shot multiple times and Ouédraogo, a Burkina Faso national, died at the scene. The al-Qaida-linked group Aqim claimed responsibility.

Mahamadi Ouédraogo

The luxury hotel and its surrounding areas are popular with expats and foreign visitors and by Saturday morning 18 nationalities were counted among the dead.

Alaoui, whose work had featured in the New York Times and Vogue, was in Burkina Faso on assignment for Amnesty International for a women’s rights photography project - My Body My Rights campaign. The group released two of the pictures she was working on on Wednesday.

Martine Kabore, photographed by Leila Alaoui, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
 as part of the My Body My Rights campaign. Photograph: Amnesty International
Malika ‘La Slammeuse’ photographed by Leila Alaoui in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso,
 as part of the My Body My Rights campaign. Photograph: Leila Alaoui

Amnesty said they were devastated, describing Alaoui as a talented photographer. They said that their “absolute priority is to ensure the best possible support for Mahamadi and Leila’s families”.

Yves Boukari Traoré, the director of Amnesty in Burkina Faso, said: “Leila was an extraordinary young woman. We wanted to work with her because of her talent, and her passion for helping women, girls and marginalised people tell their own stories. “Mahamadi was a dedicated, helpful and caring colleague. His death is a huge loss to us all,” he added.

Tributes continue to flow in from friends, colleagues and admirers of Alaoui's photography.

The writer, Tahar Ben Jelloun, said on his blog that Alaoui was “a passionate artist who knew how to detect reality behind appearances, how to show the splendour of a body behind the veil of prejudice”

Image from Leila's Les Marocains series

 RIP  Leila Alaoui

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