On 16th January 2016, al-Qaida militants attacked and seized an tourist hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. At least 23 people were killed in the fiery assault and around 126 were held as hostages reportedly.
Burkina Faso and French forces took control of the situation and killed four Islamist extremist including two female jihadis in savage gun-battle that lasted for a day. The attack began late Friday when jihadi militants fired into a nearby café.
Around 126 hostages were freed by the security forces after the morning call to prayer echoed across the city.
“Four extremists were killed, one of whom was eventually found at another nearby hotel” Security Minister Simon Compaore
Survivors of the terrible assault told sources :
“We had just placed our meal orders in Cafe Cappucino and around fifteen minutes later we heard gunshots,”
“They started to shoot at everyone. We dropped to the ground and as soon as anyone raised their heads they fired at them immediately. We had to play dead. They shook people by the foot to see if they were alive or not, and, if they were alive, they shot them.”
“When they went upstairs they set the place on fire and left via the roof. The room was completely on fire and it was impossible to breathe.”
A State Department announced in a statement :
“We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims during this senseless assault on innocent people.”
President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said :
“The situation we’re experiencing since yesterday in Burkina Faso is unprecedented,”..”These are vile, cowardly acts and the victims are innocent people”
“We call upon the Burkinabe people to be vigilant and courageous because we must include terrorist acts as an integral part of our daily struggle,”
Reportedly, the agonizing attack was launched by the same militants that were behind a similar siege at an upscale hotel in Bamako, Mali in November that left around 19 dead.
An al Qaeda affiliate known as AQIM, or al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, claimed responsibility of the Ouagadougou assault, sources told.
Moreover in a separate development, an Austrian doctor and his wife were kidnapped on Friday night by extremists in Burkina Faso’s north near its border with Mali, Abi Ouattara, security ministry spokeswoman told sources. No immediate information on the two Australians has been released by the ministry.
Burkina Faso is a largely a Muslim country and for years had been largely spared from the violence carried out by Islamic militant groups who were abducting foreigners for ransom in Mali and Niger.