17 January 2016

Burkina Faso: Why Is Burkina Faso in Al Qaeda's Crosshairs?


After a tumultuous 15 months, during which they witnessed a revolution, a coup, a counter-coup, and the most open election in the country's history, the long-suffering citizens of Burkina Faso probably deserve a break. But Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has other ideas. A coordinated attack in the capital Ouagadougou left 28 people dead, and is likely to have devastating consequences for tourism, development and investment. It's also a dramatic statement of intent from AQIM... But what message are they trying to send, exactly? By SIMON ALLISON.

Like the Radisson Blu in Bamako, which was targeted by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in November, the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou is an obvious target for terrorists looking to cause carnage, and make headlines at the same time (as the Daily Maverick has discussed before, carnage does not always lead to headlines).

In a city low on luxury accommodation, the hotel was a natural gathering point for Burkina Faso elites, international businessmen and aid workers. The neighbouring Cappuccino restaurant offers good coffee and decent Italian food, and is usually packed with locals and expats.

On Friday evening, both locations were attacked by gunmen dressed in black from head...

Burkina Faso

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