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Burkina Faso Hotel Terror Attack Leaves 28 Dead

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso says 126 people have been freed, and four jihadists killed in the operation against al Qaeda-linked extremists who seized a hotel in the capital Ouagadougou. The attack on Friday night left 28 people dead, including the extremists who took control of the Splendid Hotel and the Cappuccino Cafe.  Security forces stormed the building on Saturday morning, more than five hours after the siege began.


The overnight seizure of the luxury hotel by al-Qaida-linked extremists ended when Burkina Faso and French security forces killed four jihadist attackers and freed more than 126 people, the West African nation's president said. At least 28 other people from up to 18 different countries were killed in the attack at the Splendid Hotel and nearby Cappuccino Cafe, establishments popular with westerners in Ouagadougou, the capital, he said. Three attackers were killed at the hotel and a fourth was killed when security forces cleared out a second hotel nearby.

 

Two of the three attackers at the Splendid Hotel were identified as female, President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said on national radio.

"We appeal to the people to be vigilant and brave because we must fight on," said the president when praising the security forces and first responders. He also said the country was grateful for the military cooperation from French and Americans. The Islamic extremists stormed the hotel and cafe Friday night. A young black woman with dreadlocks and young Arabs entered the cafe shouting Allahu akhbar (Arabic for God is great), said Issouf Ouattara, who was at the cafe where 10 people were killed in the gunfire.

 

"There was general panic. After about 20 minutes the situation calmed down and then the firing started again and I think this time it was the police," said another witness Inoussa Diarra. "We tried to evacuate the victims because they were a bit hidden all over," witness Patrick Nikiema told regional news agency Juka Africa.

 

Gunfire ramped up early Saturday as gendarme and military forces fought to take back the building which had been blackened by a fire during the assault. Burned cars and motorbikes and overturned chairs and shards of glass lay scattered near the hotel. Onlookers were kept far away from the fighting that continued into daylight. Burkina Faso, a largely Muslim country, has for years been largely spared from the violence carried out by Islamic extremist groups who were abducting foreigners for ransom in neighboring Mali and Niger.  Burkina Faso has also experienced political turmoil since its longtime president was ousted in a popular uprising in late 2014. Last September members of a presidential guard launched a coup that lasted only about a week. The transitional government returned to power until Burkina Faso's November election ushered in new leaders.

 

The hotel attack in Mali in November was also claimed by a leader of AQIM, who said it had been carried out as a declaration of unity with Algerian militant Moktar Belmoktar's extremist group Al-Mourabitoun, according to an audio speech that was distributed by SITE at the time. Belmoktar was a former leader in AQIM before starting his own group, which now has merged back with al-Qaida.

 

 

Africa Team
 

Tags:Burkina Faso Hotel Terror Attack Leaves 27 Dead
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