Artwatch Africa Ambassadors seek justice for bombed music studio



MEMBERS of the ‘Artwatch Africa Ambassadors for Creative Expressions’ have condemned the attack on Studio Abazon of Burkinabe top rapper and revolutionary artiste, Serges Martin Bambara, aka Smokey. The attack, which was reportedly carried out by members of the RSP, otherwise known as the ‘Presidential Guard,’ led by General Gilbert Diendere, the leader of the military junta that seized power in the country last week, occurred in the morning hours of Thursday September 17 in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.

Smokey is the leader of a popular socio-political movement called “BALAI CITOYEN” (The Citizens’ Broom), which led the revolt against the dictatorial actions of former President Blaise Compaore. The popular revolt forced Compaore to resign and flee the country on 31st October 2014. General Diendere was number two man to Compraore, and his leadership of the RSP had targeted Smockey and members of ‘The Citizens’ Broom, ” whom they perceived as enemies of the ousted Compraore.

Studio Abazon, according to rights activists in Ouga, was rocket-bombed by members of the RSP. The well-equipped studio, which is the hub of young and aspiring musicians in Ouga, was damaged beyond repair, which confirm the suspicion that it was an orchestrated attack on the artiste, who in recent years has become the rallying voice for the politically decimated angry and idealistic young Burkinabe.

Earlier in March, Smokey had played host to 11other top musicians from eight African countries, known as Ambassadors for Creative Expressions under Artwatch Africa, a project promoted by the pan-African body of artistes and culture workers, Arterial Network. The 11 musicians had recorded a single track in the studio titled Right to Life, which incidentally was campaigning for the freedom of artistic expressions.

Two of the ambassadors include Nigeria’s Ade Bantu and Senegalese Didier Awadi, who spoke against the bombing of Studio Abazon, said the bombing reaffirms the fact that artistes’ lives are not secured in many parts of the continent. They urged the Economic Community of West Africa States, the African Union and the United Nations to make necessary intervention to ensure that the attackers of Smokey’s Abazon Studio are brought to justice.

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