Burkina Faso attack: Fourth attacker killed at second hotel after troops end al-Qaeda hostage crisis

Soldiers had been searching the Yibi Hotel and surrounding areas for more militants

Lizzie Dearden
Saturday 16 January 2016 10:02

Security forces stormed a second hotel in Burkina Faso on Saturday morning to find al-Qaeda militants who killed at least 20 people and took more than 100 hostages.

Security forces moved to the Yibi Hotel after clearing the nearby four-star Splendid Hotel across the street, where extremists had launched bombing and shooting attacks believed to have targeted Westerners.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said that troops from Burkina Faso and France killed a fourth jihadist during the operation and that two of the attackers who died previously were women.

Army forces drive near Hotel Splendid where the attackers remain with sporadic gunfire continuing in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou on Jnauary 15, 2016.

They had stormed the four-star Splendid Hotel and adjoining Café Cappucino late on Friday night, detonating bombs that set surrounding cars on fire.

The siege ended on Saturday morning as security forces freed 126 people and killed three attackers, the interior minister, Simon Compaore, said.

The hotel is popular with Western visitors, United Nations workers, diplomats and and French soldiers based in Burkina Faso for Operation Barkhana, which is fighting Islamist militants across the Sahel region.

A doctor who treated some of those wounded in the attack said victims told him that the attackers appeared to target Westerners but victims’ nationalities were unknown.

Paramedics tend to a wounded man in the surrounding of the hotel Splendide and the cafe Cappuccino during the attack on January 15, 2016.

Russia’s Honorary Council in Burkina Faso, Anna Rachina-Kulibali, told Tass news agency the Cappuccino Café is owned by a Ukrainian citizen.

“There are foreigners [among the dead], possibly Europeans and locals,” she added.

At least 10 bodies were found in the Cappuccino Café, next to the hotel in Ouagadougou, and there were fears the death toll would rise as security forces moved through the building.

Mr Compaore described the three attackers first killed as "an Arab and two black Africans", adding that 33 hostages had been wounded.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the assault, which was believed to be linked to its allied al-Murabitoun group.

In a message posted in Arabic on its “Muslim Africa” Telegram account, the terrorist group said fighters had “broke into a restaurant of one of the biggest hotels in the capital of Burkina Faso, and are now entrenched and the clashes are continuing with the enemies of the religion”.

Fighters who spoke by phone later ”asserted the fall of many dead Crusaders,“ AQIM said, according to the SITE intelligence group.

Burkina Faso's new government, which was appointed on Wednesday following the election of President Roch Marc Kabore in November, was due to hold an emergency cabinet meeting on the crisis.

Additional reporting by AP and Reuters

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