126 rescued, 3 attackers killed as operation at Burkina Faso Hotel ends
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso – Update. A total of 126 hostages were freed and three attackers killed Saturday as security operation at the Splendid Hotel in Burkina Faso’s capital ended, a senior official has said.
The attackers are one Arab and two black Africans, according to the country’s security minister Simon Compaore.
Some 20 people were killed, and over 40 were receiving treatment in major hospitals in Ouagadougou.
Security operation was also ongoing in another attacked hotel nearby, said the minister.
The Splendid Hotel, not far from the capital city’s international airport, often hosts Westerners, including UN staff and journalists.
The Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) militants attacked the hotel and took hostages there Friday.
Earlier reports, said 63 hostages, including a Burkina Faso minister, have been evacuated from the Splendid Hotel in the country’s capital, Ouagadougou.
The hostages, including a Burkina Faso minister, have been evacuated from Splendid Hotel in the country’s capital which came under attack on Friday, Remis Dandjinou, Burkina Faso’s minister of communication said.
“Liberation of Minister [of the Civil Service, Labour and Social Security] Clement Sawadogo as operation continues,” Dandjinou posted on Twitter. Later, the communication minister tweeted that 33 people had been evacuated from the hotel.
Earlier, local media reported that dozens of hostages had been freed from the hotel.
On Friday evening, several gunmen carried out an attack at Splendid Hotel and nearby Café Cappuccino in Ouagadougou, taking hostages at the hotel.
French Ambassador to Burkina Faso Gilles Thibault confirmed in the early hours of Saturday that defense and security forces had launched an assault on the hotel to free the hostages.At least 20 people were killed and about 15 were injured in the Friday attack, according to hospital officials cited by local media.
The French Embassy in Burkina Faso called the Ouagadougou attack a terrorist act.
An urgent cabinet meeting has been scheduled for 09:00 a.m. local time on Saturday at the Kosyam Presidential Palace in Ouagadougou.
The al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) group claimed responsibility for the Friday attack, according to SITE Intelligence Group. AQIM has also claimed responsibility for the November attack on a hotel in the capital of Mali, Bamako, which left at least 19 people dead.
This marks the first time a terrorist group has carried out an attack in the capital of the West African nation. A similar incident occurred in neighboring Mali last November, when two attackers left 20 people dead after storming the Radisson Blu hotel.
Burkina Faso has struggled with political turmoil since the longtime president Blaise Compaore was overthrown in 2014. (Sputnik)