Families of Air Algerie crash victims mark one year since tragedy

Flight AH5017 crash killed all 116 people on board including 54 French nationals

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Families of victims of an Air Algerie plane that crashed a year ago on Friday gathered in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, to commemorate the tragedy, asking that unidentified victims' remains be flown from Mali for burial.

Solemn commemorations began on Thursday to mark the July 24, 2014 the Flight AH5017 plane crash that killed all 116 people on board, including 54 French nationals, with families laying flowers at a cemetery west of the Burkinabe capital.

Twenty-three victims came from Burkina Faso, while others were from Lebanon, Algeria, Spain, Canada, Germany and Luxembourg.

“I ask from the bottom of my heart that the unidentified remains of our relatives buried in a cemetery in Bamako be repatriated to Ouagadougou,” said Sandrine Tricot, who heads an association of French victims of Flight AH5017, during a ceremony in Ouagadougou.

"Tragic errors"

Most of the victims' remains had been sent for identification after the tragedy to France but unidentified bodies were buried in Mali, where the plane crashed while on course from Burkina Faso to Algeria.

“They should be (buried) where they flew from,” said Tricot, whose husband was killed in the accident.

“We are following all the legal routes in order to bring them back,” said Me Halidou Ouedraogo, who lost his daughter and represents the relatives of Burkinabe victims.

Relatives laid flowers at the cemetery in Goughin, west of Ouagadougou, where Burkinabe victims of the tragedy were buried.

Earlier this month, a French judicial probe found a series of “tragic” errors caused the crash in the Malian desert, while a lawyer representing the victims said there was "overwhelming" evidence against Air Algerie and Spanish carrier Swiftair, which operated the flight.

On Friday, families of the dead declared their “firm commitment" to seek the truth about the crash of what Ouedraogo described as “this old plane that had been flying for 28 years... killing our children, our relatives”.

He also said several inquiries had been launched in France, Burkina Faso, Spain, Montreal and San Francisco, where the plane was built.