OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) – Attackers in Burkina Faso’s capital killed eight people and wounded dozens more in a coordinated assault on the army headquarters and French embassy that France’s foreign minister said was likely carried out by“terrorist groups”.
West Africa’s arid Sahel region is suffering a spike in violence by militant groups, some with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State, that is drawing an increasingly aggressive response from countries including France and the United States.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which is the third major assault on Ouagadougou in just over two years.
Previous attacks were conducted by allies of al Qaeda in reprisal for Burkina Faso’s participation in a regional fight against Islamist militants.
“Everything suggests that this attack was carried out by terrorist groups,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told LCI television.“France is determined to relentlessly fight these terrorist groups that want to destabilise the (West Africa) region and who are a serious danger to our security and interests.”
Burkinabe state television said the unidentified gunmen killed five soldiers and wounded 64 at the military headquarters. Two members of Burkina Faso’s paramilitary gendarmes were killed defending the embassy. President Roch Kabore tweeted that the death toll had risen to eight.