Michael James Riddering was identified as the American killed in the Al Qaeda terrorist attack in Burkina Faso. Riddering was in Burkina Faso working at an orphanage and women’s crisis center with his wife, Amy Riddering, when he left to pick up a group of missionaries from the United States in Ouagadougou. On his way to pick up the group, Riddering stopped at Cappuccino Cafe with a pastor friend. Shortly after arriving, the cafe was stormed by terrorists and Riddering was killed. The harrowing ordeal was recounted by Riddering’s surviving friend who got separated from Michael during the attack.
CNN reports that a 45-year-old American missionary was killed in Burkina Faso after jihadis stormed a cafe he was visiting with a friend near the Spendid Hotel in Ouagadougou. Michael and his wife, Amy, had moved to Burkina Faso to work in an orphanage and women’s crisis center in Yako, which is 70 miles from Ouagadougou where the terror attack took place. However, on Friday when the rampage took place, Riddering had left Yako to go to Ouagadougou to pick up a group of American missionaries traveling to the capital. On his way to pick up the group, Riddering stopped at Cappuccino Cafe with a friend noted as Pastor Valentin. When the pair arrived, a group of militants stormed the cafe and began shooting.
Sheltering Wings, the organization that ran the orphanage where Michael Riddering and his wife worked, noted that Pastor Valentin got separated from Michael during the attack and found himself hiding in a room in the cafe. After getting into the hiding spot, he phoned Michael’s wife and asked for urgent prayers. However, before he could tell Amy what was happening, the phone went dead.
Once police stormed the hotel and cafe and secured the area, Amy was informed that Pastor Valentin had been recovered safely but her husband was nowhere to be found. The organization notes that on January 16, the day after the attack, Michael James Riddering’s body was found by another Sheltering Wings missionary at the morgue.
“Another Sheltering Wings Missionary, Philip Matheny, who arrived back in Burkina Faso on January 14, immediately began searching for Mike. He found his body in a morgue on January 16, 2016.”
The organization notes that Michael left behind his wife and four children.
“Mike leaves behind his wife Amy Riddering, and four children. Haley age 23, Delaney age 19, Biba age 15, Moise age 4.”
Michael’s wife had been asking for prayers on Facebook for the safe return of her husband after he went missing following the attack. However, she revealed on January 16 that Mike had been killed in the attack noting that heaven has “gained a warrior.”
With the confirmation of Michael Riddering’s death, Sheltering Wings is raising donations for Amy and the couple’s four children. A Michael Riddering Memorial Fund was setup by the group to help with expenses related to Michael’s death along with money to help Amy care for the children in her husband’s absence.
U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby has also sent his condolences to the family.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time, as they are with all those affected by this brutality.”
The family reportedly moved to Burkina Faso in 2011 from Florida where Michael had previously worked selling boats. Amy has not disclosed her plans following her husband’s untimely death as to whether she will stay in Burkina Faso or move back to the United States.
In the Burkina Faso terrorist attack, 28 other people perished alongside Riddering. The 29 victims hailed from 18 different countries.
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