Published: Tue, March 06, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Dozens dead in attacks in Burkina Faso

Dozens dead in attacks in Burkina Faso

At least eight people were killed and more than 80 injured in two attacks in Burkina Faso's capital, one of them targeting the French embassy, security officials said.

Le Drian says in a written statement that Burkina Faso security forces are mobilized against the assailants, with the support of French security forces, to "reduce the threat".

Burkina Faso's Army Chief of Staff Headquarters and French embassy in Ouagadougou on Friday were hit by vehicle bomb attacks, which left 16 people dead and over 90 injured, the Minister of Security Clement Sawadogo was quoted as saying. The 5,000-member force combines troops from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania, with France leading the efforts to raise global funding.

Five emergency centres to treat casualties were set up in hospitals, a military barracks and at a stadium in Ouagadougou, said Col Amade Kafando, director general of Burkina Faso's army health unit.

More importantly, Burkina Faso contributes more troops to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali than other West African nations, he said.

France's defense ministry said French special forces, which have a base in the country, were used to protect French citizens and secure the embassy.

He offered honest condolences to the victims' families, as well as the government and people of Burkina Faso, wishing a quick recovery to the injured.

A gunman who attacked the military headquarters was wearing the uniform of the national army, according to a security source.

At the same time, an explosion occurred 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, other witnesses said. Numerous attackers were wearing army uniforms, according to witnesses, and some were from Burkina Faso, including two men arrested in connection with the attack, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to the press.

Burkina Faso has a history of military-backed coups as well as of jihadist attacks.

He paid tribute to the Burkinabe forces defending the embassy: "It's thanks to the courage of these troops and gendarmes that no one was hurt".

This is the third attack by Islamic militants on the city since January 2016, prompting criticism of the military but no group has yet claimed responsibility for Friday's attacks.

Dandjinou said five people were killed, as well as two attackers.

Today saw further unrest when one person was shot dead after three people attempted to storm a roadblock in the early hours near the presidential compound, a government source told AFP.

There was no immediate claim by any group; however West Africa's Sahel region has been witnessing a spike in violence by militant groups, some with ties to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State groups.

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