20 Killed in Al-Qaeda Attack on Burkina Faso Hotel, 63 Hostages Released

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Rest of World
Saturday, 16 January 2016

At least 20 people are reported to have been killed, another 15 wounded and a number of others taken hostage after al-Qaeda militants stormed a hotel known to be popular with UN staff and Westerners in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou.

The gunmen launched an attack on the Splendid Hotel in the business district of Ouagadougou on Friday night, burning some 10 cars outside and firing in the air to drive back people before the arrival of security forces.

According to Burkina Faso's information minister, 63 hostages were released including a member of the government.

According to witnesses, there were four or five armed men involved in the raid. The army has surrounded the building following reports of gunfire and car bomb explosions.

An unknown number of other people lost their lives after the attackers targeted the Cappuccino Cafe, located opposite the hotel, which is also popular with Westerners, a worker at the cafe said.

Responsibility for the attack on the hotel and the nearby restaurant was claimed by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Early on Saturday, French Ambassador to Burkina Faso Gilles Thibault wrote on his Twitter page that a curfew has been put in place in Ouagadougou from 2300 GMT on Friday to 0600 the next day. Thibault also said the embassy had set up a crisis unit to help more than 3,500 French nationals living in the African country.

Describing the raid on the hotel as a "terrorist attack," the embassy had earlier told French citizens to stay at home and avoid the area.

The attack comes less than two months after a terrorist attack at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the Malian capital Bamako on November 20 in which 20 people died including 14 foreigners.

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