An ongoing terrorist attack by an estimated 4-6 gunmen on the Splendid Hotel in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, has left at least 20 people dead with and unknown number of people still being held hostage. So far 15 hostages have reportedly been freed, but the situation is developing rapidly, and Burkinabé security forces have launched an assault on the hotel.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for the attack, along with (or perhaps via) Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s al-Mourabitoun organization. There are obvious similarities between this attack and one in November on the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali; AQIM and/or al-Mourabitoun may also have been behind that attack, although the Macina Liberation Front later claimed credit (all three organizations are closely aligned and may have been working together).
I’ll come back to update this post if further developments warrant.
UPDATE (11:45 Eastern): From what France 24 is telling me, it sounds like the assault on the hotel is still going on. AQIM is claiming that its fighters have killed 30 people inside the hotel, though the reported death toll remains at 20. Per the Burkinabé information ministry, 33 hostages have been freed, including one government minister.
UPDATE (1:05 AM Eastern): The hostage situation is still going on, with 63 hostages reportedly having been freed by security forces so far. No word on how many attackers are still in the hotel. Ten bodies have been found inside a nearby cafe that the gunmen attacked before they entered the hotel, but I’m not sure if they were included in the reports of 20 deaths or if they’re in addition to those deaths.
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