Al'Qaeda claims attack on army hqtrs, French embassy — BURKINA FASO

Aaron Brown
March 6, 2018

There were two attacks, with one on the French Embassy in Burkina Faso and an assault on the military headquarters of Burkina Faso, which was a meeting for regional anti-jihadist forces talks. The attacks marked the third time in about two years that the capital, Ouagadougou, has come under co-ordinated assaults by jihadists.

Other attacks in the region, which have occurred over the past month, include the abduction of 110 schoolgirls in Nigeria on February 19, and Wednesday's attack that killed four United Nations peacekeepers in Mali.

The West, particularly France, considers Burkina Faso a key ally in the fight against al Qaeda in the region.

Investigators are considering whether the attack on the well-protected French embassy was merely a diversion.

About 85 people were wounded and at least six attackers died. The victims were of several different nationalities.

"I would like to encourage the population to reinforce collaboration with our defense and security forces in our common fight against terrorism", he said in a speech on national television.

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An al-Qaida-linked group based in neighboring Mali claimed responsibility Saturday for the dual attacks. According to witnesses, five men who are armed got out of the auto and opened fire on people passing by before they began to head towards the French Embassy.

The government has said the attack on the military headquarters was a suicide auto bombing and that a regional anti-terrorism meeting may have been the intended target.

The 15 ambassadors expressed their solidarity with Burkina Faso in its fight against terrorism and also stressed the need to intensify regional and worldwide efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism, which may be conducive to terrorism.

Burkina Faso has been the target of jihadist attacks since 2015, but they had never previously been carried out with this level of organisation.

A gunman who attacked the military headquarters was wearing the uniform of the national army, according to a security source. The 5,000-member force combines troops from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania, with France leading the efforts to bring in worldwide funding. In response to the new violence in eastern Burkina Faso, troops from Burkina Faso and nearby Mali and Niger have increased patrols.

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