Terrorist Attack Burkina Faso hotel siege 'over' amid reports of new attack

In all, 126 hostages were freed at the Splendid Hotel in the West African state's capital, Ouagadougou

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A siege is over at a Burkina Faso hotel seized by suspected Islamist gunmen, the government says, but reports say a nearby hotel is now under attack.

In all, 126 hostages were freed at the Splendid Hotel in the West African state's capital, Ouagadougou, the interior minister said.

Three gunmen were killed, he added, amid reports of 20 deaths during the attack, which also targeted a cafe.

French special forces are helping local troops in the security operation.

French President Francois Hollande has condemned the "odious" attack on the former French colony.

The Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) group says it carried out the attack.

In November, an AQIM attack on a hotel in Milan capital Bamako left 19 people dead.

Militants seeking to dominate regional jihad - Tomi Oladipo, BBC Africa security correspondent

The numerous armed groups in the Sahel often take advantage of the porous borders and weak regional security to establish their violent campaigns.

A recently consolidated AQIM - since mending relations with its offshoot, the al-Murabitoun group - is keen to cement its status as the dominant jihadist group in North Africa and the Sahel, particularly with the rise of its rival, the so-called Islamic State, in the region.

AQIM made this point in its purported attack on the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali's capital Bamako in November. Mali has been a key theatre of operation but now its southern neighbour, Burkina Faso, is the latest victim.

Burkina Faso is only just moving on from a political crisis. Its new President, Roch Kabore, has only been in office for three weeks and already has his hands full.

Gunmen attacked the Splendid and the nearby Cappuccino cafe on Friday evening, setting off several explosions. Both places are popular with UN staff and foreigners.

An unnamed security source told AFP news agency that 22 people had been killed in the attacks while hospital chief Robert Sangare quoted survivors as saying at least 20 people had died.

Interior Minister Simon Compaore said 10 bodies had been found on the cafe terrace.

He added that 33 of the freed hostages were injured. Among those freed was the country's Minister of Public Works, Clement Sawadogo.

As the end of the siege was being announced, reports came in that gunmen had taken up position at the Yibi hotel, a short distance away on the same street in Ouagadougou.

Remi Dandjinou, the Burkinabe communications minister, told the BBC earlier that between six and seven gunmen had attacked the Splendid, adding that they had been staying at the hotel as guests.

Interior Minister Compaore described the three gunmen killed as two black Africans and an Arab.

 

Source : BBC

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