Burkina Faso: Twin attacks leave 8 dead, 80 injured

Burkina Faso: Twin attacks leave 8 dead, 80 injured
Darek Zielinski
Several attackers at the French Embassy in Burkina Faso have been "neutralized" according to a statement from the government.

At least eight people were killed and more than 80 injured in two attacks in Burkina Faso’s capital, one of them targeting the French embassy, security officials said.

Those killed were all security personnel, Security Minister Clement Sawadogo said during a Friday news conference in Ouagadougou.

The injured were being treated at local civilian and military hospitals, he said, adding that dozens were in “quite serious conditions” and three were “considered very serious.”

Sawadogo confirmed there were two coordinated attacks: one against the French embassy, the other against the national army headquarters, and said assailants used a “vehicle packed with explosives” against the latter.

Prime Minister Paul Kaba Thiéba on Saturday visited both attack sites, according to local media reports.

Rémi Dandjinou, Burkina Faso’s minister of communication, told CNN on Friday that six attackers had been “neutralized” across the two sites.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the attacks.

Speaking in Paris, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France was targeted because it is “Burkina Faso’s ally in its fight against terrorism.”

The UN Security Council issued a statement condemning “in the strongest terms the barbaric and cowardly terrorist attacks” in Ouagadougou.

Its members “expressed their solidarity with Burkina Faso in its fight against terrorism and stressed the need to intensify regional and international efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism, which may be conducive to terrorism.”

This is the third major assault on Ouagadougou in the past two years. Previous attacks were carried out by al Qaeda allies in the region.

An attack by gunmen last year on a restaurant in the capital left at least 18 people dead, including two attackers. The victims were of several different nationalities.

A similar assault in 2016 on a cafe and hotel popular with Western diplomats in the same district of the city left 29 dead.

The West, particularly France, considers Burkina Faso a key ally in the fight against al Qaeda in the region.

France has a military presence in Burkina Faso as part of Operation Barkhane, which was launched in 2014 to combat jihadist activity across the Sahel region.

The country was formerly known as the Republic of Upper Volta when it was established in 1958 as a self-governing colony under France. It gained full independence in 1960.