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Extremists stage deadly attacks in Burkina Faso capital

06 March 2018

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso (AP) - Extremists struck the French Embassy and army headquarters in simultaneous attacks of gunfire and explosives Friday in Burkina Faso's capital, killing eight people and wounding more than 80 others.

According to AFP, quoting security sources, the twin attacks on the French embassy and the country's military headquarters Friday left dozens dead or wounded. Northern areas near the border with Mali have been a regular target of attacks by various extremist groups, some of them vowing to step up deadly assaults in response to the recent deployment of a regional G5 Sahel force.

Five countries - Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania - backed by France, launched a new taskforce previous year to tackle Islamist militants in the region, to which global donors have committed half a billion dollars.

French government sources said there had been no French casualties and described the situation in Ouagadougou as "under control".

France's foreign ministry doesn't confirm whether or not the French embassy and the French Institute in the city were targeted.

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Paul Kaba Thieba met with the army chief at the army headquarters, where the assault killed at least six soldiers, including a senior officer.

The Secretary-General reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to support Burkina Faso in its efforts to fight violent extremism and terrorism, sustain the security sector reform, promote national reconciliation and create the conditions for sustainable peace and development.

He could even be "a brain" of the attack, according to this source, who added that there are "very strong suspicions" that there were "infiltrators in the army" who coordinated the attack.

An al-Qaida-linked group based in Mali claimed responsibility Saturday for the dual attacks.

Witnesses say armed men got out of a vehicle and opened fire on passersby before heading to the embassy at the start of the Friday attack.

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He paid tribute to the Burkinabe forces defending the embassy: "It's thanks to the courage of these troops and gendarmes that no one was hurt".

Around two kilometers (1.24 miles) away the French embassy also came under attack after a van sought to break through the buildings' barrier.

The military used the helicopter to suppress the attackers. No one has so far claimed responsibility.

There was no immediate claim by any group; however West Africa's Sahel region has been witnessing a spike in violence by militant groups, some with ties to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State groups.

The attacks were against the French embassy and army headquarters.


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Extremists stage deadly attacks in Burkina Faso capital