Burkina Faso hotel attack ends with about 30 people dead
An attack by al-Qaeda-affiliated militants on a hotel in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, has come to an end with nearly 30 people, including 11 foreigners, dead.
The deadly assault started on Friday afternoon, when assailants stormed the 147-room Splendid Hotel, frequented with foreigners and United Nations staff in the heart of the city. The militants took over a hundred people hostage.
Shortly after the attack, Burkina Faso troops, backed by French forces based in the city, launched an operation to retake the place.
The militant attack, which also targeted a nearby restaurant in addition to the hotel, took 29 lives. Six Canadians, two French, two Swiss nationals as well as an American were among the dead.
Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said in a radio and television address that the country is in shock over the raid, adding, “For the first time in its history, our country has fallen victim to a series of barbaric terrorist attacks.”
The people of Burkina Faso would nevertheless “emerge victorious,” the president added.
Burkina Faso has declared three days of national mourning following the hours-long assault.
The al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) militant group claimed responsibility for the assault, saying that the gunmen were from the Al-Murabitoun group that is led by Algerian militant, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, according to the US-based monitoring group SITE.
Interior Minister Simon Compaore said authorities have identified the bodies of three “very young” militants. However, security sources and witnesses had said earlier that four assailants were involved in the raid.
Last April, al-Murabitoun claimed the abduction of the Romanian security chief of a mine in the north of the impoverished country of about 17 million.