Blast rocks Burkina Faso's Ouagadougou

Erica Roy
March 4, 2018

Armed assailants attacked several targets in Burkina Faso's capital including the army headquarters and the French Embassy, in a co-ordinated assault Friday that France's ambassador to the West African region called a terrorist attack.

Witnesses said five armed men got out of a auto and opened fire on passersby before heading towards the French embassy.

French President Emmanuel Macron telephoned his Burkinabe counterpart Kabore to express solidarity and send his condolences to the families of the slain security force members, his office said.

On January 15 2016, 30 people, including six Canadians and five Europeans, were killed in an extremists attack on a hotel and restaurant in the city centre.

A message posted on Facebook by the French Embassy said, "Attack under way at the French Embassy and French Institute".

Responsibility for that attack was claimed by the jihadist group al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Burkina Faso's police director general says the capital is being attacked by suspected Islamic extremists after explosions and gunfire were heard in Ouagadougou early Friday.

Three security sources, two in France and one in West Africa, told AFP that at least 28 people were killed in the attack on the military headquarters alone.

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A French official in Paris confirmed that an assault against the embassy was under way, as well as an attack on the Burkina Faso army headquarters.

This is the third major attack Ouagadougou has seen in the past two years. Guterres is closely watching and following the events and asked the special representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, to travel to Burkina Faso as soon as possible.

Burkina Faso has suffered a history of Islamist violence, with most of the attacks taking place in the remote northern border region with Mali.

Among his objectives has been ending the use of French, the former colonizer's language, in regional schools. But the terror threat in Burkina Faso is increasingly homegrown, experts say.

France which is heavily involved in the region it once ruled as a colonial power had led a bid in Paris last month to raise money for the operation of the proposed 5000-strong force from the five G5 Sahel countries.

With him gone, these trade-offs are bound to dry out, leaving those elements without any serious incentives to stop them becoming the country's destabilization force.

A government source said 16 people - nine assailants and seven members of the security forces - had died, majority in the attack on the military headquarters.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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