Published: Sat, March 03, 2018
Entertaiment | By Kelly Sanders

Burkina Faso attack: Four gunmen neutralized outside French embassy

Burkina Faso attack: Four gunmen neutralized outside French embassy

Communications minister Remy Danjuinou confirmed that Islamic extremists attacked both the French Embassy and the Burkina Faso army headquarters in Ouagadougou.

Islamist militants have gained a stronger foothold in Africa's vast Sahel region in the last few years, launching attacks in Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Niger.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said damage to the embassy was minor, and the mission would be able to resume normal operations "in two or three days".

Witnesses said five armed men got out of a auto and opened fire on passersby before heading towards the embassy, in the centre of Ouagadougou.

"The security forces of Burkina Faso are mobilized against the attackers, with the support of the security forces of our embassy to reduce the threat", said the minister. Witnesses said loud explosions were heard around the army headquarters. Several were killed outside and inside the premises, " Korbeogo said.

More than 90 people were wounded in the violence in the former French colony in West Africa, and officials called it a terrorist attack.

Men escape from Burkina Faso's army headquarters during an attack in the capital Ougadougou, Burkina Faso March 2, 2018.

In Paris, President Emmanuel Macron's office said the French leader was "being informed in real time" of the situation.

He said gunfire and explosions had subsided and people were seen leaving offices near the attacks.

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The ministry's website recommended that people stay off the streets and remain in a safe place.

Witnesses said five armed men got out of a vehicle and opened fire on passersby before heading towards the embassy in the centre of the city.

The police said security units were deployed to the scene and urged people to stay away from that area.

Heavy smoke was seen coming from the army joint chief of staff's office in Ouagadougou. The army has been deployed to the sites where the gunfire broke out, government spokesman Remis Dandjinou said by phone.

Witnesses told The Associated Press that they saw five attackers in a pickup truck heading toward the French Embassy. They also set fire to the truck, the witnesses added.

The city's military headquarters and the embassy - which is also near the prime minister's office - are about one kilometre apart.

Last August, suspected extremists killed at least 18 people last August during a raid on a restaurant in Ouagadougou and militants have targeted Burkinabe security forces along its remote northern border region with Mali.

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

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