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Terrorist Attack Outside French Embassy in Burkina Faso Kills 28

Government security forces take cover in the government district of Ouagadougou today.

According to French news agency AFP, at least 28 people have been killed and 50 more injured in a terrorist attack near the French embassy in the capital city Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, West Africa.

The attack took place only one block from the Prime Minister’s Office, and only a few blocks from the country’s military HQ. Among the dead were two paramilitary gendarmes, who died while defending the embassy compound.

According to AP, the attackers were Islamist militants, although it is still unconfirmed what group they belong to.

One witness, Omar Zombre, told local TV: “We saw four people who were trying to enter the embassy on the east side. They were in civilian attire, with a kind of vest and backpacks with Kalashnikovs which were clearly visible.”So they tried, but they didn’t manage it and so they tried to enter from the west side. We saw that they had set a car on fire. When we went up [to the roof] we heard gunshots from an automatic weapon, [it was] very intense.” (BBC)

Un forte détonation qui a fait voler les vitres aux alentours de l'état major général à ouaga. Plus d'informations à venir.

Posted by Sharaph Coulibaly on Friday, March 2, 2018

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This latest incident reinforces analysts claims that Burkina Faso is fast becoming one of Africa’s trouble hot spots.

AP reports…

At least four of the attackers at the French Embassy were killed, said Communications Minister Remy Danjuinou, although he added that the total number of extremists involved at both locations was not known and others may be on the run.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement that Burkina Faso’s security forces were mobilised with the support of the French to “reduce the threat.”

A crisis centre 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.”

The ministry’s website recommended people stay off the streets and remain in a safe place.

Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists.

Ouagadougou has been attacked by Islamic extremists targeting foreigners at least twice in the past few years.

In August, extremists opened fire as patrons dined at a restaurant, killing at least 18 people. In January 2016, Islamic extremists attacked another cafe popular with foreigners, killing 30 people.

Security forces struggled to contain the attacks.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the 2016 killings along with the jihadist group known as Al Mourabitoun. But the terror threat in Burkina Faso is increasingly homegrown, experts say.

The northern border region near Mali is the home of a local preacher, Ibrahim Malam Dicko, who has claimed responsibility for recent deadly attacks on troops and civilians. His association, Ansarul Islam, is considered a terrorist group by Burkina Faso’s government.

Among his objectives has been ending the use of French, the former coloniser’s language, in regional schools. Forces backed by the French military have failed to capture Dicko.

Longtime President Blaise Compaore was ousted in a popular uprising in late 2014, and a coup was mounted the following year but ultimately failed. Some critics say the military has suffered during the years of political upheaval.

During the 2016 assault, security forces waited for hours before trying to intervene.

Threats by Islamic extremists also moved into new parts of Burkina Faso in February with an attack by 10 people in an eastern town that killed an officer and wounded two others.

Increased attacks at the border with Mali have forced thousands to flee in the past year. An Australian doctor who had spent decades treating civilians was also abducted along this border and remains missing.

READ MORE AFRICA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire African Files

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