Militants take hostages in Burkina Faso hotel attack

Three men storm Ouagadougou's Splendid Hotel in suspected Islamist assault

The scene of an attack on a hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Photograph: AP Television

The scene of an attack on a hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Photograph: AP Television

 

Armed men stormed a hotel in the west African city of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, last night, taking hostages and burning vehicles in what appears to be the latest terrorist attack by Islamist militants.

Three armed men entered the Splendid Hotel, which was then surrounded by police and military troops, Burkina Faso army spokesman Guy-Herve Ye said, adding that a counter-attack to take back the hotel was underway.

The terrorist group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the violence, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

The hotel is popular with Westerners and UN officials.

“There are many hostages from many nationalities in the hotel,” foreign minister Alpha Barry said .

‘Terrorist attack’

The attack “is reminiscent of a terrorist attack” and follows an assault earlier in the day near the border with Mali and Niger that left at least two dead, the minister said.

The US embassy in Ouagadougou said it was “closely following the situation downtown”, while France Info reported that an Air France flight coming from Paris was diverted to neighbouring Niger.

AFP said several people had been killed, citing an unidentified restaurant hotel employee.

Bloomberg