Saturday, January 16, 2016

23 killed, 126 hostage freed and many injured in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougo (Photos)

About 23 people have been reported killed, following gunfire and small explosions that reportedly rocked a cafe and hotel attacked by suspected Islamist militants in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougo.

Alpha Barry, the nation’s foreign minister, told CNN that preliminary
reports indicate that 20 people were killed. Of the hostages freed, 33 have been hospitalized, he said.
Communications minister Remis Dandjinou, affirmed Barry’s claims. He told AFP news agency that 33 of those rescued are wounded.
There were speculation that the death toll may be as high as 30, following reports that 10 bodies were allegedly seen on the terrace of the Cappuccino cafe just across the Splendid Hotel.
However, the nation’s security minister has informed that 23 people were killed in the attacks and 126 hostages have been freed.
Scene from the attack
Security forces encamped around the hotel for hours before launching a raid.
At the four-star hotel, which is popular with westerners and UN staff, more than 60 hostages, including a government minister, were freed from the hotel after troops, backed by the French military, launched an assault more than five hours after the building was first targeted.
The SITE Intelligence group reports that Al Qaeda of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Reports say four or five gunmen attacked the hotel, firing into the air to drive back crowds.
Security forces backed by French troops arrived a short time later, prompting an intense exchange of gunfire.
According to a US defence official, one US military member is provided “advice and assistance” to French forces at the hotel.

As the siege continued, the US planned to fly a drone over the scene to provide surveillance.
A defense official informed that there are about 75 US military personnel in Burkina Faso, including 15 assigned to the embassy. An additional 60 help train and advise the French military in the nation.

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