Sunday 26 January 2020

18 killed after suspected Islamic extremists attack Burkina Faso restaurant

This image, taken from a video, shows a top shot of a street near a Turkish restaurant that came under an attack in Ouagadougou (AP)
This image, taken from a video, shows a top shot of a street near a Turkish restaurant that came under an attack in Ouagadougou (AP)

An attack by suspected Islamic extremists on a Turkish restaurant in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou has left 18 people dead and several others injured.

The dead are "mainly children and women", and it is feared the toll could rise after several people were wounded by gunfire, a government spokesman said.

Two terrorists were "neutralised" following the incident, which was stopped by Burkina Faso's special forces after a seven-hour battle.

At least three members of the security forces were wounded during the assault, according to security forces spokesman Captain Guy Ye.

Assailants arrived at the restaurant on motorcycles and then began shooting randomly at the crowds dining on Sunday evening, reports said.

Security forces arrived at the scene in armoured vehicles after reports of shots fired near Aziz Istanbul.

This is the second such attack on the popular restaurant in the last two years.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the violence.

Among the 18 dead is at least one French person and a Turkish person.

French president Emmanuel Macron has condemned the attack, and promised France's continued support to countries in West Africa against terror groups.

Mr Macron said he will speak to Burkina Faso's president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, following the incident.

Mr Macron also praised the "effective mobilisation" of Burkina Faso's security forces at the scene and expressed solidarity with the attack victims' families.

In addition to those killed, eight others were wounded, communications minister Remi Dandjinou told journalists. The victims came from several different nationalities, he said.

The attack brought back painful memories of the January 2016 attack at another cafe that left 30 people dead.

Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world.

It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists.

In the 2016 attack the attackers were of foreign origin, according to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which claimed responsibility for those killings along with the jihadist group known as Al Mourabitoun.

However, the terror threat in Burkina Faso is increasingly homegrown, experts say.

The northern border region is now the home of a local radical preacher, Ibrahim Malam Dicko, who has claimed responsibility for recent deadly attacks against troops and civilians.

His association, Ansarul Islam, is now considered a terrorist group by Burkina Faso's government.


PA Media

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