Burkina Faso–At least 18 persons were killed when suspected Islamic extremists opened fire at a Turkish restaurant in the capital of Burkina Faso late Sunday. This is a second such attack on a restaurant popular with foreigners in the last two years.
Nobody has claimed the responsibility of attack that continued into the wee hours Monday. The sound of gunfire could be heard almost six hours after the attack started. Communication Minister Remi Dandjinou told journalists that at least eight others wounded and two of the attackers were killed in the attack. The victims hail from several different nationalities, he informed. At least one of the dead is said to be French.
Security personnel arrived at the scene with armored vehicles after reports of shots fired near Aziz Istanbul, an expensive restaurant in Ouagadougou. The gunfire brought back painful memories of the January 2016 assault at another cafe that left 30 people dead. Police Capt. Guy Ye said three or four assailants had arrived at the Aziz Istanbul restaurant on motorcycles, and then started shooting indiscriminately at the crowds dining Sunday evening.
Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is one of the poorest nations in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists. The three attackers in the 2016 massacre were of foreign origin, according to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which claimed responsibility in the aftermath along with the jihadist group known as Al Mourabitoun. But the panic threat in Burkina Faso is increasingly homegrown, experts say.
The northern border region is now the home of a local preacher, Ibrahim Malam Dicko, who radicalized and has claimed recent deadly attacks against troops and civilians. His association, Ansarul Islam, is now considered a terrorist group by Burkina Faso’s government.