Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Armed men attack French embassy in Burkina Faso

Gunmen attack French embassy army HQ in Burkina Faso Armed men attack French embassy in Burkina Faso
Diane Mills | 03 March, 2018, 00:24

Other witnesses said there was an explosion near the headquarters of the Burkinabe armed forces and the French cultural centre, which are located about a kilometre (half a mile) from the site of the first attack.

France's ambassador to Burkina Faso, Xavier Lapdecab, urged people via Twitter to act with "absolute precaution" as the attack was ongoing.

Security forces struggled to contain the attacks.

The statement expressed the deep condolences of the UAE to the families of victims and wished quick recovery to those injured.

A government source said 16 attackers and defenders died, while other sources reached by AFP from Paris sketched a bloodier outcome, with at least 28 killed.

Although soldiers and police officers are reported to be among the wounded no civilian casualties have been so far been reported.

Burkina Faso is one of a string of fragile countries on the southern rim of the Sahara that are battling jihadist groups. "I saw soldiers flee the army headquarters building running", a witness told Reuters.

Eyewitnesses say they saw four gunmen holding automatic weapons attempt to enter the embassy and later heard gunshots, the BBC reports.

Earlier, pictures from the scene showed a cloud of black smoke rising into the sky.

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A crisis center was set up at the ministry in Paris to monitor the situation, he said, adding that the safety of French citizens in Ouagadougou "is my priority".

Panicked residents fled the city centre on foot or motorbikes as dozens of Burkina Faso soldiers and armoured vehicles took up positions in the area. Le Drian said the damage at the embassy was relatively minor.

The French target is symbolic given that French president Emmanuel Macron chose to outline in November his Africa strategy, which includes the fight against Islamist militants, in Ouagadougou.

Gunfire and explosions rocked Burkina Faso's capital Friday, by the army headquarters and in a neighborhood that houses embassies, the offices of the prime minister and the United Nations. The landlocked country of around 19 million exports cotton and gold.

Many others were wounded among the security forces, and it was feared the death toll could rise, said the official, Communications Minister Remy Danjuinou.

Islamist militants have stepped up attacks in major cities in West Africa the last few years, including deadly assaults in Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Niger.

On January 15 2016, 30 people, including six Canadians and five Europeans, were killed in a jihadist attack on a hotel and restaurant in the city centre.

Five countries - Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania - backed by France, launched a new taskforce a year ago to tackle Islamist terrorists in the region, to which worldwide donors have committed half a billion dollars.

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