Attackers have killed “several people” at a restaurant in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou opposite a four-star hotel where the assailants are holed up, a restaurant staff member told AFP.
Reached by telephone, the employee of the Capuccino restaurant was unable to give an exact toll. A police officer was shot trying to reach the Splendid hotel opposite where the attackers remain, according to officers, with sporadic gunfire continuing.
Earlier, gunshots and explosions were on Friday heard coming from one of Ouagadougou’s main hotels, according to an AFP journalist who saw three men firing at the scene.
Around 10 vehicles were on fire in the street where the four-star Splendid hotel is located in a busy, central area of the Burkina Faso capital.
The hotel is regularly used by United Nations staff and westerners.
The Cappuccino Splendid cafe-restaurant opposite the hotel, also popular with westerners, had also been targeted, a witness who spoke to AFP added.
Police and security forces were at the scene supported by a helicopter.
The attack comes less than two months after a jihadist attack at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the Malian capital Bamako on November 20 in which 20 people died including 14 foreigners.
Last month Burkina Faso swore in Roch Marc Christian Kabore as president, completing the troubled West African state’s transition after the overthrow of its longtime ruler, Blaise Compaore in 2014 and a failed coup attempt in September.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in October 2014 when Compaore sought to extend his rule, forcing him to step down after ruling the poor, landlocked country with an iron fist for 27 years.
Kabore, 58, becomes only the third civilian president of the nine who have held power since the country’s independence from France in 1960.tweet