They were young, loaded with diplomas and working on one of the most dangerous terrain in Africa. Parts of portraits of the six French victims killed on Sunday in an attack in Niger, as well as their two Nigerian comrades.
The sentiment has remained strong since the deaths of six young French aid workers and their two Nigerian companions were killed on Sunday, August 9, in an undisclosed attack.
Prime Minister Jean Castex will chair a national tribute ceremony at Orly Airport on Friday, at 4 pm, in the presence of families, on the occasion of the repatriation of the bodies of the six French peoples.
The over-educated and very committed, the French victims only dreamed of changing the world by going to act in one of the most dangerous areas in Africa. Portrait.
Originally from the Seine-Maritime, this 30-year-old doctoral student, a specialist in management science who taught for five years at the University of Aix-Marseille, then for two years at the French Embassy in Nigeria, before being recently employed by Acted.
“She was full of life, full of conviction, idealistic. She could not stand injustice. She fought for her ideas,” emphasizes Sarah, one of her sisters, who indicates she had taken her job in Niamey. just a week ago.
“She had already traveled a few days in Niger before taking up her post in Niamey. She had a strong character, always up for anything, funny, full of humanity. It’s hard to say today but she was very much alive,” she recalls. her friend Anna Gomez-Colombani. “After Niger, she also had plans to move to Jordan, where we both had traveled a few weeks ago. She did not stop.”
“She was a woman of character, of whom her family was proud, engaged in her research in development economics and combined academic work with fieldwork,” testified her dissertation director Claude Rochet.
She had studied marketing and management in Montpellier, her hometown, then in the Paris region, before devoting herself to humanitarian aid from 2015, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Passed by the NGO Oxfam in the Central African Republic, she had also been initiated for six months in the field by the Bioforce Institute, a French benchmark for the training of humanitarian workers, this Vénissieux-based institute told AFP.
In 2020, she joined REACH, a humanitarian data analysis program started by Acted and its sister organization, Impact.
After working for the companies Axa and Véolia, she joined the Ministry of Defense in 2015, mainly in finance and management functions. She had been deployed for six months in Bangui, with a European military mission in the Central African Republic.
The young woman also received a doctorate in “responsibility for arms exporting companies” from the University of Aix-Marseille, according to her LinkedIn profile.
In early December, she had trained in English (humanitarian program manager) at the Bioforce Institute and left the army in February, according to the Ministry of Armed Forces, before being sent to the field in Niger for six months.
Originally from Toulouse, she had a master’s degree in crisis and conflict management from the University of Paris-Dauphine and had trained in various NGOs in France and Colombia.
She had joined Acted two years ago, first in Paris, before passing through Tunisia, Chad and Niger, where she had been transferred a few months ago.
“She was quite discreet, passionate, happy, caring, attentive. If you had any problems she would come to you. She already attracted to Africa. No wonder she turned to humanitarian aid. I have fond memories of her,” he said. Boris Kharlamoff, a colleague in the Infocom license at the Catholic Institute in Toulouse, to AFP.
“A commitment”, as the usual thread in his career: one of the youngest in the group, a student with a definite vision, had joined Praktikant as a trainee in 2019, in parallel with his studies at the School of Business.
After a training holiday at Acted’s headquarters in Paris, he had just been sent as a “volunteer” to the NGO’s office in Niamey, where he specialized in logistics.
“He would graduate in 2021 … We are saddened by this tragic news,” his school, the Business School of Rennes, said in a statement.
One of our students has died in the attack in Niger. He was a volunteer in @ACTED_Niger. The whole community of Rennes_SB mourns this tragic news.
We thank his family and loved ones in this painful moment.
– Rennes SB (@RennesSB) 11 August 2020
Normalien, a researcher in environmental economics and responsible for supervised work at a Parisian university, was this 26-year-old young man from Carhaix, Brittany. On his LinkedIn profile, he shows his interest in various humanitarian causes, in addition to his very high studies in development economics.
“He was a wonderful young man, brilliant and very devoted to issues of economic development in countries in difficulty. He really found that more fulfilling than the economic issue, even though he was an excellent academic,” testifies AFP his professor at the National Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics (Insea), Geoffrey L. Barrows.
Christophe Hachon, who had him as a preparatory class student at Victor and Hélène Basch High School in Rennes, remembers a young man who “spent his time helping others.” “He was not interested in success per se, but had the idea to get it right,” he told AFP. “He wanted to know how what you learn in preparation can help build a society at the service of others.”
President of the Association of Guides of Giraffes de Kouré, this Nigeria was a “committed and militant guide in the giraffe zone of Kouré from the beginning. He was always aware of the importance of working to save the last giraffes in West Africa”, his association greeted Facebook page.
He had been a guide for twenty-five years, so since the herds of the first giraffes arrived in the area. He was 51 years old, married to two women and the father of 13 children.
This Nigerian employee at Acted was the 4X4 driver for this excursion. According to the Parisian, he was 50 years old and expecting a fifth child with his wife.