Dozens killed in twin attacks on Burkina Faso military headquarters, French embassy

06 March, 2018, 02:05 | Author: Katrina Soto
  • Reconsider travelling to Burkina Faso

A coordinated attack on the army headquarters and French embassy in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso which left no less than 16 people dead including eight gunmen has been claimed by a Mali-based al Qaeda affiliate.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry, for its part, issued a statement stressing Cairo's support for the peoples and governments of both Burkina Faso and France in combating terrorism.

French special forces helped kill the assailants at the French Embassy, Security Minister Sawadogo said.

The government said the attack on the military was a suicide vehicle bombing and that a planned meeting of the G5 Sahel regional anti-terrorism force might have been the target.

Five countries - Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania - backed by France, launched a new taskforce a year ago to tackle Islamist militants in the region, to which worldwide donors have committed half a billion dollars.

Some of the assailants may have managed to flee the attack on the military headquarters, a government source said.

More importantly, Burkina Faso contributes more troops to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali than other West African nations, he said.

The French embassy confirmed that French interests were under attack.

Paul Kaba Thieba met with the army chief at the army headquarters, where the assault killed at least six soldiers, including a senior officer.

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The 15 ambassadors expressed their solidarity with Burkina Faso in its fight against terrorism and also stressed the need to intensify regional and worldwide efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism, which may be conducive to terrorism.

Earlier, the attacks in Ouagadougou and near Burkina Faso's porous border with Mali were also conducted by allies of al Qaeda.

Macron, who made a high-profile visit to Burkina Faso in November, said the attacks "illustrate once more the threat weighing on the entire Sahel region".

The attacks marked the third time in about two years that the capital, Ouagadougou, has come under co-ordinated assaults by jihadists.

Witnesses say armed men got out of a auto and opened fire on passersby before heading to the embassy at the start of the Friday attack.

The landlocked nation of Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world.

Burkina Faso has a history of military-backed coups as well as of jihadist attacks.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the 2016 killings along with the jihadist group known as Al Mourabitoun. No one has so far claimed responsibility.

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