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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 16 August 2018

Burkina Faso: Extremists kill eight in gun and bomb attack

Militants attack the French embassy and the military's headquarters in a coordinated attack

A suspected terrorist attack in the capital Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, killed at least eight and wounded dozens more.  EPA/STR
A suspected terrorist attack in the capital Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, killed at least eight and wounded dozens more. EPA/STR

Extremists struck the French Embassy and army headquarters in simultaneous gun and bomb attacks on Friday in Burkina Faso's capital, killing eight people and wounding more than 80 others. All eight militants were killed by security forces.

The violence, which the government called a terrorist attack, marked a further deterioration in the former French colony's perilous security situation. Islamic militants already have struck twice since January 2016 in the West African country. Nobody claimed responsibility for the latest attack.

One of the militants' assaults destroyed a room in the army headquarters where senior officers were to have met but was relocated at the last minute, according to Security Minister Clement Sawadogo.

“If the meeting had taken place in the first room, our army would have been beheaded,” said Mr Sawadogo.

The French Embassy came under attack in the morning while a similar attack unfolded at the army headquarters across the city, Ouagadougou.

Heavy smoke rose from the army joint chief of staff's office, where witnesses reported loud explosions. Windows were broken there and in nearby buildings.

“Some of the soldiers ran into a nearby bank to seek shelter. Several were killed outside and inside the premises," Korbeogo said.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with President Roch Marc Christian Kabore to express his condolences and support, and also to thank the country's forces for their quick intervention. Burkina Faso is one of five countries in the Sahel contributing to the so-called G5 force in the region battling extremists.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attacks and expressed solidarity with Burkina Faso' government and people.

Ouagadougou has been attacked by Islamic extremists targeting foreigners at least twice in the past few years. Security forces have struggled to contain the attacks.

In August, extremists opened fire as patrons dined at a restaurant, killing at least 18 people. In January 2016, Islamic extremists attacked another cafe popular with foreigners, killing 30 people.

The landlocked nation of Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists.

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