On his return from the town of Dori, in the Sahel region, where he co-hosted a panel discussion on electoral corruption during the electoral campaign on November 22, 2020, award-wining investigative journalist and editor of Courrier Confidentiel, Yacouba Ladji Bama had the vehicle in which he was travelling targeted with gun attack, according to the journalist’s testimony.
Ladji Bama had co-hosted the programme which was organised by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the local authorities of the region with Professor Luc Marius Ibriga, State Controller General and Rodrigue Tagnan, Communication Manager of the National Anti-Corruption Network (REN-LAC).
According to the journalist, the programme went without any particular incidence of violence, apart from a slightly heated exchanges between him and other speakers on the widespread practices of vote-buying which he denounced during his remarks.
On the way back after the programme, the vehicle in which Ladji Bama, Rodrigue Tagnan and a driver were travelling came under a “gunshot attack” around the village of Yalgo at about 18:00 hrs
“While the vehicle was in full gear, there was sudden impact on the window in front of me, following a loud noise from a violent explosion. All three of us on board wondered about the origin of such an impact. Even though we suspected it, we refused to believe that it was really a bullet mark.
“It was not until we got to Ouagadougou, late around 10 p.m., that I got the mark examined by a forensic professional who confirmed what we feared: It was indeed an impact from a bullet, lead bullet to be precise. And to add that to my luck, the shooter was apparently a little far from his target. If the bullet had pierced through the glass, it would have hit my chest, ” Bama said.
The incident has raised concerns about who may be after the life of the investigative journalist. Meanwhile, Ladji Bama has lodged a complaint with the police for the attempt on his life:
While the journalist does not know who the attacker may be, he suspects the ruling party and a mining company which “Le reporter”, the newspaper Bama works for, exposed for carrying out illegal gold mining under the pretext of mining fine coal in December 2018. The case is still pending before the Tribunal in Ouagadougou.
This is not the first time that the editor of “Courrier Confidentiel” has been the target of threats or attacks.
On the eve of Tuesday January 7, 2020 in Ouagadougou, he survived an arsonist attack. His vehicle, parked at the house, suddenly caught fire. After successfully bringing the flames under control, he discovered that a bottle full of gasoline had been thrown from outside the yard onto the rear window of the car with flames that had started to consume the interior of the vehicle.
Several times laureates of the anti-corruption prize and the Norbert Zongo prize for investigative journalism, Ladji Bama no longer needs to be featured in the Burkinabè media landscape. He is known to dip his pen into unsolved affairs. His article entitled “Moumouni Djiguemdé, an ex-prisoner in the government of Zida” published during the 2015 Transition, had prompted the resignation of Minister Moumouni Djiguemdé (who nevertheless strongly contested at the beginning).
Ladji Bama is not the only one in this batch of journalists who feels threatened. In the wee hours of Friday 27 November, 2020, an individual “tagged” the home portal of the General Secretary of the Autonomous Union of Information and Culture Workers (SYNATIC), Siriki Dramé. In broken but clear French, he left the following message: “Je viendra se soir pour vous tue” (I will come this evening to kill you.) The security forces (Police, Gendarmerie) were noted of the situation.
In the same vein, on December 2, 2020, the home of journalist Sery Baoula came under fire in the morning. The RTB / Radio reporter was not at home when the incident occurred. But members of his family present were the first witnesses of these events and have since lived in fear.
The Association of Journalists of Burkina (AJB), the Society of Publishers of the Private Press (SEP) and the Autonomous Union of Information Workers and de la culture (SYNATIC) have condemned these attacks against Burkinabè journalists, calling for state authorities and security agents to investigate and punish the perpetrators.
The MFWA joins the Burkinabe media fraternity to urge the authorities to take all necessary measures to protect the security of Ladji Bama and his family. We also appeal to the authorities to ensure that the perpetrators of the threats against the journalist are arrested and made to face the law.