Dozens dead or injured in attacks on Burkina military HQ, French embassy

Dozens dead or injured in attacks on Burkina military HQ, French embassy”

Friday's attack was the second such incident in Burkina Faso since gunmen attacked the Splendid Hotel in the heart of the capital in 2016, killing at least 30 people and wounding over 50 more.

But there are numerous other Islamist groups based in the region and militants have carried out attacks in several major West African cities in the past few years.

Earlier, the government had announced that six assailants had been killed - four in the embassy attack and two in the second attack - while state TV said seven members of the security forces had also died.

The ministry recommended that French residents of Ouagadougou stay confined to a safe place, suspend all travel in town and comply with instructions by local authorities.

Three security sources, two in France and one in West Africa, told AFP in Paris that at least 28 people were killed in the attack on the military headquarters alone.

The defence minister said three assailants were killed at the army headquarters.

Burkina Faso is among a number of vulnerable countries in the southern Sahara region that are fighting jihadist groups.

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

The Paris public prosecutor's office said it had opened a formal investigation into "attempted murder in relation to a terrorist enterprise", an expected procedural step after attacks targeting French citizens or interests.

Police took up positions near the offices of the prime minister where gunfire was also reported.

Guterres is closely following the news and is concerned over the reported casualties and injuries, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. By midday the gunfire became intermittent and helicopters flew above the French Embassy in Ouagadougou.

No group claimed responsibility for Friday's attacks.

The U.S. embassy in the city said on its Twitter account it advised residents to seek shelter.

On August 13 past year, two assailants opened fire on a restaurant on Ouagadougou's main avenue, killing 19 people and wounded 21.

That attack pivoted Burkina Faso as a natural target by a deadly cocktail of rebels and religious militias who continue to threaten much of West Africa, prompting the creation of a so-called G5 Sahel force to neutralize such a threat.

Smoke rises from Embassy of France in Burkina Faso, March 2, 2018.

Jean-Marc Châtaigner said: "Terrorist attack this morning in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso: solidarity with colleagues and Burkinabe friends".

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