Dozens Killed In Al Queda Attack On Burkino Faso Hotel
Dozens of foreign tourists were killed Saturday morning after Al Queda launched a terror attack on a luxury hotel in Burkino Faso, Africa.
The attack on the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, the capital, began of Friday night. A fierce battle between the Al Queda and French and local security forces throughout the night. After the military took back the hotel, killing three terrorists in the process, a fourth was killed as a neighboring hotel was cleared.
In addition to four extremists, at least 23 people were killed in the attack, President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said on national radio. Two of the three attackers have been identified as female.
The French Ambassador, Gilles Thibault, gave a death toll of 27 and denied any women were among the militants killed at the 147-room hotel.
Interior Minister Compaore said two black Africans and an Arab were among the militants killed.
About 33 people were wounded and the operation freed 126 people.
The BBC reports that survivors claimed the militants went from person to person, touching their bodies to see if they moved.
“They started shooting, shooting, and everybody lay down on the ground,” said Mariette, who escaped from the hotel with her younger sister.
“As soon as you lifted your head they would shoot straightaway, so you had to pretend to be dead. And they even came to touch our feet to check if we were alive. As soon as you were alive, they would shoot at you.”
An al-Qaida affiliate known as AQIM, or al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, claimed responsibility online as the attack was ongoing, according to the SITE Intelligence Group. The group has also claimed to be behind a similar siege at an upscale hotel in Bamako, Mali in November that left 20 dead.
In a message posted in Arabic on the extremists’ ‘‘Muslim Africa’’ Telegram account, it said fighters “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.” Fighters who spoke by phone later “asserted the fall of many dead Crusaders,” AQIM said, according to SITE.
Burkina Faso is a largely Muslim county that has remained mostly peaceful until late 2014, when simmering unpopularity exploded in the ouster of President Blaise Compaore, who was trying to amend the constitution to extend his 27-year rule. Last September, members of a presidential guard launched a coup that lasted only about a week.