Most of the Victims Were Foreign Nationals
A deadly attack at a restaurant in Burkina Faso’s capital in Ouagadougou has left 18 people dead and 10 wounded.
According to media reports, the assailants opened fire at diners in a popular Turkish restaurant at around 9 p.m. in the evening, sending waves of panic through the area. Some customers escaped the ordeal.
Most of the victims were foreigners, but there were some locals as well. Local authorities said two Canadians and one French national were among dead.
The Burkina Faso foreign affairs minister, Alpha Barry, said at a news conference that seven Burkinabes, two Kuwaitis, a Nigerian, a Senegalese, and a Lebanese were also among the victims.
The cafe is a prominent place for hangouts among foreign nationals.
Reports say it was not clear how many gunmen were involved. However, a press release from the government reported two were killed. At the time of writing, no claim of responsibility has been made.
Guy Ye, a police captain, said three or four assailants had arrived at the restaurant on motorbikes on Avenue Kwame Nkrumah in the center of the city, at about 9pm, armed with AK-47s, and began shooting at diners.
One woman said she was in the restaurant celebrating her brother’s birthday when the shooting started. “I just ran but my brother was left inside,” she told Reuters.
The security forces launched a counter-assault operation which ended at 5 a.m. (1 a.m. ET) Monday morning.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the assault on Sunday night in Ouagadougou. However, many speculate the attack was perpetrated by a coalition of jihadist groups formed last month. The alliance includes al-Qaida in the Maghreb (AQIM) which seeks to rid North Africa of Western influence.
The AQIM claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on a hotel popular with UN staff and foreigners in Ouagadougou in January 2016. The extremists shot people inside the hotel and took others in hostage in a siege that lasted hours. The attack left 30 people dead
This al Qaeda-linked terrorist group claimed responsibility for that attack which had similarities to one at the Radisson Blu Hotel in neighboring Mali in November, in which 100 people were taken hostage and 19 were killed.