Burkina Faso: Gunmen Attack Military HQ and French Embassy

An attack in the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, has left several people dead and many others injured. Reports say the attacks happened at a military HQ and French embassy.

Authorities have not confirmed the number of dead but France 24 reports that seven members of the country’s security forces lost their lives and around 50 were injured. The AFP reports that at least 28 people were killed in the attack.

The government has confirmed that at least two attackers were killed at the military HQ while four others were killed at the French embassy. Pictures taken by witnesses show people climbing out of the back of buildings during the attack at the military HQ.

Communication minister Remis Fulgance Dandjinou told local media that the attack has strong overtones of terrorism. A French representative to the region described the incident as a terrorist attack. Authorities continue the search for more attackers who may have escaped.

Witnesses have told local media that they saw armed men getting out of a vehicle. They say the men opened fire and moved towards the embassy. Reports recently said that police had surrounded one of the attackers at a market.

The attacks took place in an area with several government buildings and embassy. The army HQ that was attacked is near the French embassy. A source quoted by the AFP confirmed that the situation at the French embassy was now under control.

The US embassy in the capital tweeted about the reports, telling people to avoid the downtown area and seek secure shelter. The French government has been informed on the situation and has told its citizens there to stay away from those areas. Ouagadougou Mayor Armand Beouinde said that the attackers had fired at the town hall and that the windows in his office had been damaged.

One witness told local media that they saw four people that were trying to enter the embassy through the east side. That witness added that they were in civilian attire, with vests and backpacks with Kalashnikovs.

In August, nineteen people lost their lives and 25 others were injured when attackers opened fire on a restaurant and hotel in Ouagadougou. In January 2016, an attack at a restaurant and hotel left 30 people dead and 56 injured. The attackers took hostages but security forces later freed them.