Al-Qaeda affiliate claims deadly Burkina Faso attacks

Burkina Faso Attacks on local army HQ and French embassy kill at least 7

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said damage to the embassy was minor, and the mission would be able to resume normal operations "in two or three days". "Apparently, it is a jihadist attack", he said, but gave no further details.

Gunfire and explosions resounded for hours but had subsided by midday. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists.

French President Emmanuel Macron offered his condolences, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is on a visit to neighbouring Mali, "strongly condemned" the attack while United Nations chief Antonio Guterres called for an "urgent and concerted effort" to improve stability in the Sahel.

The French Embassy came under attack around 10.15am, with witnesses at the nearby state TV offices telling The Associated Press that the attackers had arrived in a pickup truck and began shooting.

"We are really revolted by this insecurity and we must point the finger at those who are responsible."Security was reinforced near strategic sites in Ouagadougou on Saturday as Prime Minister Paul Kaba Thieba, flanked by ministers from his government, toured the army headquarters and the French embassy".

Five emergency centres to treat casualties were set up in hospitals, a military barracks and at a stadium in Ouagadougou, said Col Amade Kafando, director general of Burkina Faso's army health unit.

"Some of the soldiers ran into a nearby bank to seek shelter. Several were killed outside and inside the premises", Mr Korbeogo said.

The capial of Ouagadougou has been attacked by Islamic extremists targeting foreigners at least twice in the past few years. Security forces struggled to contain the attacks. At least 80 people were injured. In 2016, an attack on a cafe and hotel killed 29 in the city.

The agency often carries claims of responsibility by jihadi groups for attacks staged across West Africa. But experts say the terror threat in Burkina Faso is increasingly homegrown.

JNIM is believed to have carried out multiple attacks against both civilian and military targets across the western Sahel region in recent years.

The 15 ambassadors expressed their solidarity with Burkina Faso in its fight against terrorism and also stressed the need to intensify regional and global efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism, which may be conducive to terrorism.

Among his objectives has been ending the use of French, the former colonizer's language, in regional schools.

A gunman who attacked the military headquarters was wearing the uniform of the national army, according to a security source.

The government said the attack on the military headquarters was a suicide auto bombing and that the G5 Sahel regional anti-terrorism force may have been the target.

Burkina Faso is among a group of five Sahel countries, together known as the G5, which are facing complex interconnected security and development challenges.

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