Dozens killed in Burkina Faso hotel attack

Ouoba Ahmed, AFP | French special forces take position in the surroundings of the Splendid Hotel following an attack by Al-Qaeda linked gunmen on January 16, 2016 in Ouagadougou

Burkinabe forces retook control of the Splendid Hotel and the nearby Hotel Yibi in Ouagadougou on Saturday after al Qaeda-linked gunmen launched an attack that left at least 28 people from 18 countries dead, including two French nationals.

  • Al Qaeda militants struck the upscale Splendid Hotel and nearby Cappuccino Cafe late Friday, venues that were popular with foreigners and UN staff in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou. The militants took a number of hostages while others managed to hide as gunfire and explosions rang out. At least 23 people were killed in the attacks, Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Kaboré told reporters as he visited the scene. The dead included two French nationals, according to the French foreign ministry.
  • Minister of Security and Internal Affairs Simon Compaoré said early Saturday that security forces had retaken control of both the Splendid Hotel and the Cappuccino Cafe. He said 126 hostages had been freed and three jihadists were killed in the operation. The fourth attacker was killed later as troops searched nearby hotels.
  • France’s ambassador to Burkina Faso, Gilles Thibault, gave a slightly higher death toll later Saturday, however, saying 27 people had been killed in the attack. He also tweeted that 150 people from 18 countries had been rescued.
  • The local al Qaeda affiliate known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility online as the attack was ongoing, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.
  • French President François Hollande condemned the "odious and cowardly attack". Dozens of French forces arrived overnight from neighbouring Mali to aid the rescue.
  • Separately, two Australian citizens were kidnapped in northern Burkina Faso, near the Malian border, according to the Burkinabe communications ministry. Earlier reports said the hostages were Austrian nationals. It was not immediately clear whether the abduction was linked to the attack in Ouagadougou.

    Read FRANCE 24’s live blog below for an overview of today’s events as they happened.

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Live: Burkina Faso hotel under siege

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