French Embassy In Burkina Faso Says It Is Under Attack

Gunmen attack French embassy and army headquarters in Burkina Faso
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04 March, 2018

An armed attack now underway in Burkina Faso's capital of Ouagadougou is centered on the French embassy, according to a post on the embassy's Facebook page.

Witnesses say five attackers drove up to the embassy in a pick-up truck, shouted "Allahu Akhbar" and then set fire to the truck and began shooting, AP reports.

French President Emmanuel Macron telephoned his Burkinabe counterpart Kabore to express solidarity and send his condolences to the families of the slain security force members, his office said.

The neighborhood also houses other embassies, the prime minister's office and United Nations offices.

A government statement said four gunmen were "neutralised" at the French embassy.

No group has claimed responsibility although suspicion will fall on a disparate group of Islamist movement active in the West African region.

According to the statement, "armed men attacked the French Embassy and army headquarters on Friday 02 March".

Security personnel take cover as smoke billows from The Institute Francais in Ouagadougou on Friday.

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Responsibility was claimed by a group called Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Officials from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger were at the meeting, representing the G5 Sahel nations who have launched a joint military force to combat jihadists on the southern rim of the Sahara. In response to the new violence in eastern Burkina Faso, troops from Burkina Faso and nearby Mali and Niger have increased patrols.

As a retired soldier who came to power in a military coup, Compaore had been involved in trade-offs with armed elements to stave off any chance for the kind of attacks being witnessed in Burkina Faso over the past two years.

Among his objectives has been ending the use of French in regional schools.

However, in recent years militants have moved to targeting the capital.

The countries' troops join forces where they can. The 5,000-member force combines troops from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania, with France leading the efforts to bring in global funding.

Paris had led by example, pledging $60 million toward operating the counterterrorism force whose tasks will also include tackling trafficking in humans, drugs and arms in a region plagued by insecurity epitomized by regular cross-border incursions.

Remy Danjuinou, Burkina Faso's communications minister, said five of the extremists were killed near the embassy and three others near the army head of state offices.


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