The security forces killed three suspected jihadist attackers at a restaurant in central Ouagadougou but there are still people trapped inside the building, the Communications Minister Remi Dandjinou said on state TV on Monday. At least 17 people were killed and eight wounded in a provisional toll from an attack on a restaurant in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, overnight, he added.
Gunmen attacked the Aziz Istanbul restaurant late on Sunday and security forces were deployed to try to end the attack. The Turkish restaurant came under attack as heavy gunfire erupted in the capital of Burkina Faso, which has seen a surge in violence by Islamic extremists over the past few years. Security forces were at the scene with armored vehicles late yesterday, as reports of shots fired near an upscale restaurant in Ouagadougou brought back painful memories of a January 2016 attack at a cafe that left 30 people dead.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility and it was not known whether there were any casualties. Police spokesman Capt. Guy Ye told The Associated Press the target of the attack was a Turkish restaurant known as Aziz Istanbul. 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.
The three attackers in the 2016 massacre were of foreign origin, according to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which claimed responsibility in the aftermath 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 is now the home of a local preacher, Ibrahim Malam Dicko, who radicalized and has claimed recent deadly attacks against troops and civilians. His association, Ansarul Islam, is now considered a terrorist group by Burkina Faso’s government.
(With inputs from AP, Reuters)