Simultaneous Attacks Hit Burkina Faso, a Growing Target of Al Qaeda

Simultaneous Attacks Hit Burkina Faso, a Growing Target of Al Qaeda

Burkina Faso's involvement in the fight against terrorism, particularly its military's participation in the French-led 5,000-member multinational force against terrorism region, could be the reason behind the attacks on the military headquarters and the French embassy, according to the New York Times report.

The location of the meeting was changed at the last moment, Sawadogo said, adding the room they had been due to use at the military headquarters was blown up.

The Secretary-General strongly condemns the terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou today against the country's military headquarters and the Embassy of France.

Burkina Faso's President Roch Marc Christian Kabore condemned the violence in a speech broadcast to the nation on Saturday. "It makes me insane", he said.

Rémi Dandjinou, Burkina Faso's minister of communication, told CNN on Friday that six attackers had been "neutralized" across the two sites. An al-Qaida-linked group based in neighboring Mali claimed responsibility for the assaults.

UNICEF said at least 98 schools have been closed in Burkina Faso due to security issues. Burkina Faso is one of a string of fragile countries on the southern rim of the Sahara that are battling jihadist groups.


Witnesses say armed men got out of a auto and opened fire on passersby before heading to the embassy at the start of the Friday attack.

Burkina Faso contributes more troops to the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali than other West African nations, making it an extremist target, he said.

The embassy attackers were armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and were "dressed in civilian clothes" with their faces uncovered, witnessed said.

In aiding the fight against terrorist groups, Mr. Kaolaga said, Burkina Faso has become one of their targets. The troops support forces in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger against groups such as the Defense Group of Islam and Muslims. The attack on the army headquarters narrowly missed a conference of top military leaders, indicating the extremists may have had inside information.

A gunman who attacked the military headquarters was wearing the uniform of the national army, according to a security source. Le Drian said the damage at the embassy was relatively minor. The 5 000-member force combines troops from Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania, with France leading the efforts to raise global funding.

Traffic has also been quite dense, compared to Friday afternoon when the militants were being engaged by a soldiers of the Burkinabe military backed by French special forces.

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