Suspected jihadists kill 18 in attack on Burkina Faso restaurant

Police are seen on a street following an attack by gunmen on a restaurant in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. PHOTO: REUTERS.

Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 18 people and wounded several during a raid on a restaurant in Burkina Faso’s capital overnight, but security forces shot dead both attackers and freed people trapped inside the building.

“This is a terrorist attack,” Communications Minister Remi Dandjinou told a news conference on Monday.

Burkina Faso, like other countries in West Africa, has been targeted sporadically by jihadist groups. Most attacks have been along its remote northern border with Mali, which has seen activity by Islamist militants for more than a decade.

A Reuters witness saw customers running out of the Aziz Istanbul restaurant in central Ouagadougou as police and paramilitary gendarmerie surrounded it, amid gunfire.

A French citizen was among the dead, French Foreign Affairs minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said. Also killed were seven Burkinabes, a Canadian, two Kuwaitis, a Nigerian, a Senegalese, a Turk and a Lebanese, Burkina Faso Foreign Affairs Minister Alpha Barry said at a news conference.

A further three bodies had yet to be identified, he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the situation with Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Kabore, his office said, including the role of a new multinational military force aimed at fighting Islamist militants across the vast Sahel region of Africa.

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