Published: Sat, March 03, 2018

Attacks in Burkina Faso capital near French embassy, military headquarters

Attacks in Burkina Faso capital near French embassy, military headquarters

In January 2016, Islamic extremists attacked another cafe popular with foreigners, killing 30 people. At least 7 soldiers were reportedly killed and over 90 people were wounded, said various reports citing local officials.

France's ambassador to Africa's Sahel region, Jean-Marc Châtaigner, called the explosion a "terrorist attack" on Twitter and told people to avoid the downtown area. "Terrorist attack this morning in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso: solidarity with colleagues and Burkinabe friends", Jean-Marc Châtaigner wrote.

Some witnesses said the attack bore the markings of terrorism.

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says the attacks targeted several places in Ouagadougou Friday including the French embassy.

The capital of Burkina Faso came under multiple attacks on Friday, targeting the French embassy, the French cultural center and the country's military headquarters, an AFP reporter and witnesses said. Still, eyewitnesses at the national television office across the street from the French Embassy claimed they saw five gunmen emerge from a pickup and started shooting in front of the embassy.

Hours after explosion and gunfire rocked different locations of the capital city of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, including the army headquarters, it was revealed that the situation is "under control".

Witnesses at state TV offices that face the embassy told The Associated Press that five attackers arrived in a pickup truck, shouted, "Allahu Akhbar", and began shooting.

The explosion inside the headquarters shook surrounding buildings, set the compound on fire and sent up a thick column of black smoke.

The two targets are a few meters away from the prime minister's office in the city.

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. 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. In a written statement, he said Burkina Faso security forces had mobilized against the assailants, with the support of French security forces, to "reduce the threat".

Police and army units were deployed in the area.

It is unclear who staged the attacks. His association, Ansarul Islam, is considered a terrorist group by Burkina Faso's government. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

In 2016 and again previous year, jihadists attacked civilian sites that were popular with Westerners - cafes and a hotel - killing a total of 49 people.

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