Monday, August 14, 2017

At least 18 killed in Burkina Faso restaurant terror attack

At least 18 people were killed and ten others wounded after a number of assailants attacked a restaurant in Burkina Faso around 9 p.m. local time Sunday (5 p.m. ET).
The attack took place in Ouagadougou, the capital of the West African nation, the government confirmed in a statement. It's not known how many attackers were involved, although a press release from the government reported two were killed. So far,no claim of responsibility has been made.
    Attackers barricaded themselves in the Istanbul restaurant on Avenue Kwame Nkrumah in the center of the city, state media RTB reports, citing authorities. The operation by security forces ended at 5 a.m. (1 a.m. ET) Monday morning.

    Government official: Raid a 'terrorist attack'

    Burkina Faso Communications Minister Remis Dandjinou called the raid a "terrorist attack," according to Reuters, and said the victims were from a number of countries. Efforts are underway to identify the bodies so the authorities can inform their families.
    State media RTB reported that two "terrorists" had been killed.
    After the attack, a security perimeter was established by the Defense and Security forces and all roads leading up to the Ouagadougou International Airport were closed. The injured were taken to the Yalgado Ou├ędraogo hospital center, according to the government statement.
    The Prosecutor's Office is investigating the incident.
    The government sent condolences to the families of the dead and requested that citizens "remain calm and respect... safety instructions."
    The French Foreign Ministry issued a statement urging its citizens to stay away from the area. It also offered its condolences to the victims' families and said that it "stands by" the Burkino Faso government "during this painful time."
    Burkina Faso -- then known as Upper Volta -- was a French colony until 1960.

    Ongoing issue

    Militants have targeted civilians in Burkina Faso previously, most notably in 2016 when attackers raided a luxury hotel in Ouagadougou, shooting some and taking others hostage in a siege that lasted hours and ended with 29 people dead.
    An al Qaeda-linked terrorist group, Al-Mourabitoun, claimed responsibility for that assault, which had similarities to one at the Radisson Blu Hotel in neighboring Mali in November the previous year.
    That attack left 22 people dead.