'At least 28 killed in attack on Burkina army HQ'

03 March, 2018, 05:00 | Author: Pamela Mathis
  • Gunmen attack French embassy and army headquarters in Burkina Faso

Several locations including the French embassy in Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, were attacked Friday morning, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced in a statement on Friday. "Solidarity with colleagues and friends in Burkina Faso", he said.

The statement expressed the deep condolences of the UAE to the families of victims and wished quick recovery to those injured.

Across central Ouagadougou to the west, heavy smoke rose from the army joint chief of staff's office, where witnesses reported loud explosions.

Security officials said about a dozen attackers were involved in the two incidents.

The defence minister said three assailants were killed at the army headquarters.

Around two kilometres (1.24 miles) away the French embassy also came under attack after a van sought to break through the buildings' barrier.

A witness told dpa he saw five attackers get out of a auto and fire machine guns at people on Friday morning before proceeding in the direction of the French embassy.

Gunfire and explosions have now subsided and people have been seen leaving offices near the attacks.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for an attack on a restaurant and hotel in Ouagadougou in January 2016 in which 30 people were killed.

Burkina Faso's army health director general, Col. Amade Kafando, says that at least 90 people were wounded in the attacks.

Aurélia Laget, a spokeswoman for the French Institute in Ouagadougou, which is near the embassy, said that workers there had taken shelter and that sounds of fighting had gone on for more than an hour.

Sawadogo said a meeting of the G5 Sahel regional counter-terrorism force was supposed to have been held at the headquarters but had been moved to another room.

The number of casualties is unclear, but reports suggest that several people have been wounded. "Stay indoors. It is not certain at this stage which places have been targeted". They set fire to the vehicle, shouted "Allahu Akhbar" and began shooting, they said.

A government source said 16 attackers and defenders died, while other sources reached by AFP from Paris sketched a bloodier outcome, with at least 28 killed.

The region is also now the home of a Burkina Faso militant figure, Malam Dicko, who has collaborated with militants across the border in Mali.

Burkina Faso has a history of military-backed coups as well as of jihadist attacks.

Five countries, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania, launched a new task force in 2017 to tackle Islamist militants in the arid Sahel region, to which global donors have committed half a billion dollars.


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