There is an ongoing attack on a Western hotel in the African nation of Burkina Faso, and the early reports are that 20 are dead, some civilians are being held hostage, many others are hiding and awaiting rescue.
Here’s a video reported to be from outside the attack:
Al-Qaida militants struck an upscale hotel and nearby cafe in Burkina Faso’s capital late Friday that are popular with Westerners, taking an unknown number of hostages and forcing others to hide for their lives. Three hours later, gunfire could still be heard as soldiers in an armored vehicle finally approached the area where cars had been set ablaze.
The local al-Qaida affiliate known as AQIM claimed responsibility online as the attack was ongoing in downtown Ouagadougou at the 147-room Splendid Hotel, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.
In a message posted in Arabic on the militants’ “Muslim Africa” Telegram account, it said fighters had “broke into a restaurant of one of the biggest hotels in the capital of Burkina Faso, and are now entrenched and the clashes are continuing with the enemies of the religion.”
Witness Vital Nounagnon told the AP that he saw four men attack the hotel and neighboring Cappuccino Cafe about 7:30 p.m. Another witness who gave only his first name, Gilbert, said that when Burkinabe security forces first arrived, they turned around rather than confront the attackers.
“But we know that the gunmen won’t get out of the hotel alive,” he said. “Our country is not for jihadists or terrorists. They got it wrong.”
A man who works the day shift at the Cappuccino Cafe, Alpha Ouedraogo, had left just 90 minutes before the attack began. He said he had been in touch by phone with other employees and that more than a dozen of them were in hiding and awaiting rescue.
Here’s what it looked like before the attack:
— Frederic Helbert (@FredericHelbert) January 15, 2016
More from the Daily Mail:
At least 20 people have died after masked jihadi gunmen attacked a four-star business hotel in Burkina Faso’s capital tonight, amid an ongoing hostage situation.
Two car bombs exploded outside the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou’s business district before several gunmen stormed the hotel.
Security forces arrived as the men fired in the air to disperse the gathering crowd and soon engaged in a fierce gunfight with the suspected jihadis as cars burned around them.
Witnesses said the attackers claimed to be from ISIS, but a local Al Qaeda affiliated group called AQIM has reportedly claimed the attack on the capital in West Africa, according to SITE Intelligence Group.
In a message posted in Arabic on the militants’ ‘Muslim Africa’ Telegram account, it said fighters had ‘broke into a restaurant of one of the biggest hotels in the capital of Burkina Faso, and are now entrenched and the clashes are continuing with the enemies of the religion.’
A hospital chief said at least 20 people have been killed and another 15 wounded in the ongoing assault.
‘For the dead, we do not have a precise figure, but there are at least 20 dead,’ said Robert Sangare, the head of Yalgado Ouedraogo hospital.
‘We have had at least 15 wounded with bullet wounds and others who suffered injuries during the panic to escape.’
A police officer was shot trying to reach the Splendid hotel opposite where the attackers remain, according to officers.
A senior official with the national gendarmes said suspected Islamist fighters had taken an unknown number of hostages.
‘It is continuing at this time. We are trying to know how many attackers they are to better coordinate our actions. Hostages have been taken. The operation could take several hours,’ the officer said asking not to be named.
A journalist on the scene told CNN that French and US soldiers arived at the hotel.
Eyewitnesses said two car bombs exploded at approximately 7.30pm local time before up to six masked men stormed the hotel.
I’m seeing this being reported, but it hasn’t been confirmed, and seems doubtful to me:
— Rodrigo Barbosa (@RodaLarga) January 16, 2016
— Terrorisme Monitor (@TerreurMonitor) January 16, 2016
Woh. I've stayed at the hotel under attack by Islamists in Burkina Faso, terrible news. Beautiful country. pic.twitter.com/kYRetacYcJ
— Brian Whelan (@brianwhelanhack) January 16, 2016
I’ll update with more information as it become available…