BURKINA FASO ATTACK: Extremists hit several targets

BURKINA FASO ATTACK: Extremists hit several targets

Darren Sullivan
March 3, 2018

Islamic extremists opened fire on the French Embassy and army headquarters in separate attacks in Burkina Faso's capital Friday, killing at least seven soldiers, while eight of the militants were slain, a government official said.

Four of the suspects were killed at the embassy while at least two others were also killed at the military headquarters, Burkina Faso's Information Minister Remis Fulgance Dandjinou confirmed on state TV.

Heavy smoke was seen coming from the army joint chief of staff's office in Ouagadougou.

France's foreign affairs ministry published a message on their website warning of gunfire in the capital, and said that security forces are now intervening and enhanced security measures could be taken by authorities. He said one gendarme and all four attackers were killed in the operation.

The Paris prosecutor's office has opened a preliminary investigation into attempted murder because the French Embassy was among targets of the attack, a judicial official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to be publicly named.

A witness told dpa he saw five attackers get out of a vehicle and fire machine guns at people on Friday morning before proceeding in the direction of the French embassy.

On January 15 2016, 30 people, including six Canadians and five Europeans, were killed in a jihadist attack on a hotel and restaurant in the city centre.

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He had been hit a day before the row between Ahed and the soldiers, which seems to have resulted in her emotional outburst against the soldiers.

Le Drian said that there were "numerous" Burkinabe victims at the army headquarters, but that no French nationals had been killed in the simultaneous attacks. Meanwhile, more gunfire rang out along with an explosion at the military headquarters approximately 1 mile further down Ouagadougou's Avenue de l'Independance from the French Embassy. They then set fire to the truck and began shooting. "Stay indoors. It is not certain at this stage which places have been targeted".

It was also reported that four attackers were killed in the assault on the embassy and the military headquarters.

The statement urged people to keep calm and avoid areas where there might be gunfire.

In a separate development on Friday, the specialist U.S. website SITE, which monitors jihadist activity, said kidnappers had released a video of a 75-year-old French hostage, Sophie Petronin, who had been abducted in northern Mali in late 2016. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Burkinabe forces backed by French military counterparts have tried to capture Dicko but he remains at large.

However, in recent years militants have moved to targeting the capital.

Islamist groups have stepped up attacks in major cities in West Africa the last few years, including deadly assaults in Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Niger.