Burkina Faso investigates extremist attacks, French to help

Michele Moreno
March 6, 2018

Burkina Faso's communications minister says eight Islamic extremists, and seven Burkina Faso soldiers have been killed in the attacks on the French Embassy and army headquarters in Ouagadougou, the capital.

In a statement to APS news agency, spokesman for Algerian Foreign Ministry, Abdelaziz Benali Cherif, stressed that his country "firmly and unequivocally condemns terrorism under all its forms".

His association, Ansarul Islam, is considered a terrorist group by Burkina Faso's government.

Eight members of the armed forces were killed by the blast and the parallel attack on the French embassy, while 80 were wounded, Burkinabe Minister of the Civil Service, Labor and Social Security Clement Sawadogo said, adding that eight attackers had been shot dead.

The government said the attack on the military headquarters was a suicide auto bombing and that a regional antiterrorism meeting may have been the intended target.

Burkina Faso is among a group of five Sahel countries, together known as the G5, which are facing complex interconnected security and development challenges.

French government sources said there had been no French casualties and described the situation as "under control".

Four attackers were shot outside the French embassy and another four at the military headquarters, another security source told AFP.

Although a government source said 16 attackers and defenders died, the AFP learned unofficially that the attacks may have been bloodier than the official narrative, which earlier in the day had only admitted the deaths of four of the attackers.

The French Embassy came under attack around 10:15 a.m. Friday.

Ouagadougou becomes the place of the Commission of major terrorist attacks for the third consecutive year.

The military used the helicopter to suppress the attackers.

There was no immediate claim by any group; however West Africa's Sahel region has been witnessing a spike in violence by militant groups, some with ties to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State groups.

Previous attacks in Ouagadougou and near the porous border with Mali were conducted by allies of al Qaeda in reprisal for Burkina Faso's participation in a regional fight against Islamist militants.

This has continued to deal harsh "blows" to the economy of some of the poorest people in the world.

Aurélia Laget, a spokeswoman for the French Institute in Ouagadougou, which is near the embassy, said that workers there had taken shelter and that sounds of fighting had gone on for more than an hour. No one has so far claimed responsibility.

Other reports by Insurance News

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