Terror attack on French embassy and army HQ - gunmen storm buildings and explosions heard

Local News Updates

Stirchley Stories / Local News Updates 355 Views 0

People said armed men got out of a car and began opening fire in the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou, this morning.

The city mayor said this afternoon the incident was a terror attack carried out by "jihadists".

Police said later they had killed four Islamist gunmen, and the situation had been brought under control.

France’s embassy confirmed in a statement it was under attack along with a cultural centre and the army headquarters.

In a post on Facebook, it said: "Attack under way at the French Embassy and French Institute. Stay hidden where you are.”

A witness said smaller explosions came from the army headquarters after a first larger blast, masked gunmen had stormed in and security forces were converging on the scene.

Pictures from the scene showed windows blown out by the blasts and cars covered in debris as smoke filled the air.

Police said security units were deployed to the scene and urged people to stay away from that area.

The US Embassy tweeted: “@Usembassyouaga has received reports of gunfire in downtown Ouagadougou.

An attack was launched in Ouagadougou

GETTYAn attack was launched in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

“Avoid the area of downtown Ouagadougou. Seek secure shelter. Monitor local media for updates.

“Check back here for more updates from the embassy.”

France's ambassador to West Africa's Sahel region described the incident as a terror attack.

Jean-Marc Châtaigner said: "Terrorist attack this morning in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso: solidarity with colleagues and Burkinabe friends.”

France's President Emmanuel Macron is being kept up to date with events in the Burkina Faso capital after gunmen launched an attack in the centre of the city in the vicinity of the French Embassy, the Elysee Palace said.

The Elysee statement urged French nationals to follow alerts from the embassy.

Burkina Faso, like other countries in West Africa, has been targeted sporadically by jihadist groups operating across Africa's Sahel region.

Suspected jihadists killed at least 18 people last August during a raid on a restaurant in Ouagadougou and militants have targeted be security forces along its remote northern border region with Mali.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for an attack on a restaurant and hotel in Ouagadougou in January 2016 in which 30 people were killed.

Five regional countries launched a new taskforce last year to tackle Islamist militants in the zone, to which international donors have committed a half-billion dollars.

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