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Monday 22 January 2018

At least 18 killed as gunmen target popular Turkish restaurant in Burkina Faso

The latest attack brings back painful memories of a January 2016 attack at another cafe that killed 30 people
The latest attack brings back painful memories of a January 2016 attack at another cafe that killed 30 people
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Suspected Islamic extremists have attacked a Turkish restaurant popular with foreigners in Burkina Faso's capital, killing at least 18 people.

It is the second such attack on a restaurant in the last two years.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the violence, which continued into the early hours of Monday with yet another heavy exchange of gunfire overheard by witnesses.

Communication minister Remi Dandjinou said at least 17 people were dead and eight others wounded, according to a provisional toll.

The victims were of several different nationalities, he said, including at least one French citizen.

Security forces arrived at the scene with armoured vehicles after reports of shots fired near Aziz Istanbul, an upmarket restaurant in Ouagadougou.

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.

The three attackers in the 2016 massacre were of foreign origin, according to al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which claimed responsibility in the aftermath along with the jihadist group known as Al Mourabitoun.

But the terror threat in Burkina Faso is increasingly home grown, experts say.

The northern border region is now the home of a local preacher, Ibrahim Malam Dicko, who radicalised and 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.

Press Association

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