14 August 2017

Burkina Faso: Restaurant Attacked By Gunmen in Burkina Faso

An attack by gunmen on a Turkish restaurant that began late on Sunday left at least 18 people dead and eight wounded in the capital of Burkina Faso, a West African country that has seen a surge in violence by armed groups over the past few years.

The figure was released early on Monday by Burkina Faso's communications minister Remi Dandjinou.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the violence, which continued into early Monday.

Earlier, authorities and witnesses suggested that three assailands had been killed by security forces, but Dandjinou revised the figure down to two, and said the security operation "has ended".

Security forces were at the scene with armoured vehicles, as reports of shots fired near an upscale restaurant in Ouagadougou.

Police spokesman Guy Ye told AP that the target of the attack was a Turkish restaurant known as Aziz Istanbul.

Witnesses told AFP news agency that three armed men arrived in a 4×4 at around 9:30 pm (21:00 GMT) and opened fire on customers seated outside the restaurant.

At least one of those killed was a Turkish national, according to Turkey's foreign ministry, and another person killed was French.

The French President Emmanuel Macron condemned what he described as a "terrorist" attack.

Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled armed groups.

A January 2016 attack at a cafe left 30 people dead.

The three attackers in the 2016 massacre were of foreign origin, according to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which claimed responsibility in the aftermath along with the armed group known as Al Mourabitoun.

But the terror threat in Burkina Faso is increasingly homegrown, experts say.

The northern border region is now the home of a local preacher, Ibrahim Malam Dicko, who radicalised and has claimed recent deadly attacks against troops and civilians. His association, Ansarul Islam, is now considered a "terrorist group" by Burkina Faso's government.

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