Several dead in Burkina Faso restaurant attack


Suspected Islamic extremists opened fire at a Turkish restaurant in the capital of Burkina Faso late Sunday, killing at least 18 people in the second such attack on a restaurant popular with foreigners in the last two years.

The assault by security forces ended at around 5:00am GMT and the district is secure, Communications Minister Rémi Dandjinou told FRANCE 24’s sister radio station Radio France Internationale.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the violence, which continued into the early hours Monday. Gunfire could be heard almost seven hours after the attack began.

Dandjinou told journalists that at least 18 people were dead and eight others wounded, according to a provisional toll. He said two of the attackers were also killed.

The victims came from several different nationalities, he said.

At least one French national was killed in the suspected jihadist attack, Paris prosecutors said Monday. The prosecutors’ anti-terrorism unit has opened an investigation, they said.

Security forces arrived at the scene with armored vehicles after reports of shots fired near Aziz Istanbul, an upscale restaurant in Ouagadougou. The attack brought back painful memories of the January 2016 attack at another cafe that left 30 people dead.

Police Capt. Guy Ye said three or four assailants had arrived at the Aziz Istanbul restaurant on motorcycles, and then began shooting randomly at the crowds dining Sunday evening.

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 Qaeda 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 homegrown, experts say.

The northern border region is now the home of a local preacher, Ibrahim Malam Dicko, who has claimed recent deadly attacks against troops and civilians. His association, Ansarul Islam, is now considered a terrorist group by Burkina Faso’s government.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)

Date created : 2017-08-14

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