PHOTOS: Victims of Splendid hotel attack in Burkina Faso’s Ouagadougou
Security forces battled suspected Islamist fighters who were holding hostages at hotel used by foreigners in Burkina Faso’s capital on Friday, gendarmes and witnesses said.
The gunmen stormed the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou’s business district, burning cars outside and firing in the air to drive back crowds before security forces arrived, prompting an intense exchange of gunfire.
The hotel is sometimes used by French troops with Operation Barkhane, a force based in Chad and set up to combat Islamist militants across Africa’s vast, arid Sahel region.
“It is continuing at this time. We are trying to know how many attackers they are to better coordinate our actions. Hostages have been taken. The operation could take several hours,” a senior official with the national gendarmes said, asking not to be named.
A Reuters witness saw gunmen emerge from the hotel and fire into the air. A vehicle carrying security personnel arrived and shortly afterwards an intense gun battle began.The landlocked West African state has endured bouts of political turmoil since Oct. 2014 when veteran president Blaise Compaore was overthrown during mass protests.