Attacks in Ouagadougou, 29 People Killed

Luxury Hotel in Ouagadougou attacked overnight, 126 hostages and 29 people killed Luxury Hotel in Ouagadougou attacked overnight, 126 hostages and 29 people killed REUTERS

18 January 2016
Luxury Hotel in Ouagadougou attacked overnight, 126 hostages and 29 people killed.

On the night of 15th of January, a luxury hotel and a café in the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, were raided for over seven hours by attackers, which resulted in 29 deaths and more than 50 injuries. The attacks took place at Splendid Hotel, nearby Hotel Yibi, and Cappuccino café, with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claiming responsibility.

The first attack took place at Cappuccino café across the street from Splendid Hotel. Here bombs were set off and attackers dressed in black and armed with AK-47 assault rifles began storming in. Attackers then raided the hotels, taking and shooting hostages. Suzanne Songa-Ouedraogo, one of the survivors said that she lay wounded in a meeting room at the Splendid Hotel for more than seven hours. Several witnesses including victim Lucien Trabi said “five jihadists, two of them women… started spraying everyone with bullets. Above all they were looking for expats.”

Burkinabé troops along with French special forces and U.S. military personnel were deployed to the hotel to fight  the attackers. Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Alpha Barry said that security forces freed 126 hostages, many of whom were taken to hospital by the Red Cross. Splendid Hotel is popular among Western diplomats and United Nations staff in Ouagadougou. Among the deaths were a Ukrainian family of four including their 9-year-old daughter, two French nationals, six Canadians, two from Switzerland, and one from the United States. One of the rescued hostages was Burkinabé Minister of Public Works, Clement Sawadogo. President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said that four security force members and one French soldier were wounded in the fighting that also killed three of the AQIM attackers.

These attacks echo a similar one at a luxury hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako, in November 2015, which resulted in 20 deaths. The Malian assault was claimed by the same Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group behind the Ouagadougou attacks. The attackers were members of the Al Murabitoun group run by Mokhtar Belmokhta, which recently merged with AQIM. According to a statement carried by U.S.-based monitoring group SITE, AQIM claims that the reason behind that attacks was “revenge against France and the disbelieving West.” Burkina Faso  declared three days of national mourning in the wake of the attacks.

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