Battle rages in Burkina Faso

Ouagadougou skyline


FOREIGNERS were among the top targets as 20 people were killed when a branch of Al-Qaida targeted the west-African nation of Burkina Faso.

The attack took place last night, January 15, as Islamic militants stormed the Splendid hotel in the capital city Ouagadougou, taking control of the building while setting fire to cars outside and firing into the air to drive back security forces.

Communication minister Remis Dandjinou said that sixty hostages had now been freed, with 33 of them wounded. “We don’t have a total tally of the dead. The Burkinabe forces are still combing the hotel” he continued.

Those forces are being assisted by French special forces, while the French embassy has declared the assault a terrorist attack. There are an estimated 3,500 French citizens in the country, a former colonial territory of their nascent empire.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack boasting that 30 of its fighters had been martyred, although that number cannot yet be verified. The group recently raided a hotel in neighbouring Mali and has been a disruptive force across west- Africa.

Burkina Faso, a predominantly Muslim country, has been languishing in political strife and turmoil since an uprising in 2014, but has been spared terrorist violence on this level until now.

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