Burkina Faso hotel attack highlights, sacrifice and danger for out of sight missionaries

(Photo: Courtesy Sheltering Wings Facebook page)Michael Riddering, an American missionary killed in a terror attack on Jan. 15, 2016 and his wife Amy Boyle-Riddering.

Extremists fighting to violently impose an ideology they claim is Islam target Muslims, Christians and any who do not follow ways, their mayhem often hitting people working in remote areas for their faith or beliefs.

In last week's attack in Burkina Faso's capital of Ouagadougou an American missionary was killed and the kidnapping of an Australian doctor and his wife in the country could be linked to that brutal attack.

The mother-in-law of the American missionary said that he is among those killed after al-Qaeda fighters attacked a hotel and cafe in Ouagadougou, The Associated Press reported.

Michael Riddering, 45, was a missionary who worked at the Les Ailes de Refuge Orphanage in the town of Yako, 70 miles (112 kilometers) from the capital, the organization that runs the orphanage, Sheltering Wings said in a statement.

Carol Boyle said Riddering died in the Cappuccino Cafe, where he was to meet a group that was going to volunteer at the orphanage and women's crisis center he ran with his wife, Amy Boyle-Riddering.


Riddering moved in 2011 to Burkina Faso from Florida, where he sold refurbished boats with his wife, Amy, and daughter Delaney to do missionary work.

"Heaven has gained a warrior!" Amy Riddering wrote on Facebook on Saturday in memory of her husband. "I know God has a purpose in all things but sometimes it is a complete mystery to me."

"My heart is so heavy and I am having trouble believing he is gone," she added, The New York Times reported. "Mike was an example in the way he lived and loved. God be glorified!"

"Mike Riddering and Valentin, his Burkinabe associate, went to Ouagadougou on January 15, 2016 to meet and pick up a team of Short Term Missionaries coming from the U.S. to work with Mike at the Les Ailes de Refuge Orphanage in Yako, Burkina Faso," wrote Sheltering Wings on its Facebook page.

"Mike and Valentin arrived in Ouagadougou early and went to Cappuccino Café, a coffee shop across from the Splendid Hotel. These locations came under attack by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

"Amy Riddering, Mike's wife, received a call from Pastor Valentin urgently requesting prayer; before he could complete his call the phone went dead.

"It appears that Pastor Valentin was somehow separated from Mike during the attack and hid somewhere in the Cappuccino Café."

Several hours after his urgent call for prayer, Amy was notified that Valentin had been found and rescued by security forces. However, Pastor Valentin had no information on Mike Riddering's whereabouts.

The pastor hid in the cafe and survived. It wasn't until a fellow Christian missionary found Riddering in the morgue on Saturday that they knew he was dead.

He leaves behind four children, two adopted from Burkina Faso.

Michael Riddering was born Feb. 21, 1970, in Illinois. He graduated from Fort Lauderdale Christian High School in 1988. From 1998-2005 Mike worked at Midnight Express Powerboats.

At least 28 people died in the Jan. 15 attack in Ouagadougou, which triggered a siege of more than 12 hours.

The dead included victims from 18 different countries and among them were the wife and young daughter of the Italian cafe owner, two French citizens, two Swiss citizens, and six Canadians.


Separately the family of an Australian doctor and his wife kidnapped in Burkina Faso said on Jan. 17 they did not know why the couple were abducted or where they were taken.

Surgeon Ken Elliott and his wife Jocelyn disappeared two nights earlier, the family in Western Australia state said in a statement.

"Recent news from the country indicates an alleged abduction of Ken and Jocelyn on Friday night, however no reason is yet given for this and their whereabouts is still unknown," the statement said.

Authorities do not know if the abductions are linked to the attack on the country's capital Ouagadougou by al-Qaeda fighters.

Burkina Faso Minister of Security and Internal Affairs Simon Compaore said on Jan. 16  that the couple, reported to be in their 80s, were kidnapped in the northern town of Djibo where they have run a medical center for four decades, Agence France-Presse reported.

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