Europe is reeling from its worst terrorist attack in more than ten years. Comments on social media in Africa – in languages apart from English or French – range from sympathy to barely concealed hostility.
“Our condolences go to the people of France” wrote one Facebook user, Usman, in the Hausa language, in Abuja, Nigeria over the weekend.
Hausa is spoken in Niger, northern Nigeria and Chad.
DW journalists monitoring social media in Hausa said users were showing much more sympathy for the victims of the Paris raids than they did after January’s attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in the French capital. Many users also spoke of the need to intensify the battle against terrorism.
Murtala, writing in Hausa from the northern Nigerian city of Kano, often the target of killings blamed on militant group Boko Haram, said the Paris attacks “showed that terrorism has spread all the over the world and the time has come for all nations to combat it effectively.”
Comr from Kontagora wrote “I condemn the terror attacks in Paris, but the French have themselves to blame. They are involved in almost all crises in Africa and the Arabian countries. I pray for the end to terror across the whole world.”
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said his country “stood in full solidarity with the people of France” and called intensified multilateral cooperation to bring “the scourge of international terrorism” to a speedy end.
Surprise over Paris attacks
DW’s correspondent in northern Nigeria, Mohammad Al-Amin, said most Nigerians condemn the attacks and “some are even surprised that they could happen in a country like France, in Paris with all the security, Grade A security, that is considered to be there.”
Facebook is allowing users to show their solidarity with the French by including the colors of the French flag on their profiles. Godwill, a Facebook user writing in Kiswahili, said this was discrimination in favor of big countries, especially by Germany, which was flying its flags at half mast in mourning for the Paris dead. “Syria has suffered attacks which killed thousands, go to Gaza, thousands of people have been killed there. Look at al Shabaab in Somalia, they are killing thousands there. Why didn’t Germany have the flag at half mast in favor of Syria, Somalia or Gaza?”
Kiswahili is spoken in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other African countries.
Mohammed, a Kenyan Somali told Alfred Kiti, a DW correspondent in Nairobi, said the attacks in Paris were “cowardly.” Referring to the attackers, he said “we are not in agreement with those guys and who ever is claiming that is just a hooligan.”
Salum said “my worry is the lives of Muslims in France after these attacks.”
“Strong security measures need to be put in place. “Islamic State” is destroying innocent lives,” wrote Kulwa in Kiwahili.
Samia Othman, Yusra Buwayhid and Mohammad Awal contributed to this report.