Burkina Faso premier visits army HQ, French embassy after attacks
March 3, 2018 | 6:47 PM
by Reuters
Policemen secure the municipal stadium where an emergency medical post was established, after a coordinated assault on the army headquarters and French embassy in the capital Ougadougou, Burkina Faso on March 2, 2018. Photo - Reuters

Ouagadougou: Burkina Faso Prime Minister Paul Kaba Thieba on Saturday toured the army headquarters and French embassy in the capital Ouagadougou, a day after attacks at those two sites left 16 people dead, including eight gunmen, and wounded 80 more.

No one has claimed responsibility for Friday's attacks, which follow two other major assaults in Ouagadougou in the past two years.

Previous attacks in the capital and near the porous border with Mali were conducted by allies of Al Qaeda in reprisal for Burkina Faso's participation in a regional fight against militants.

"I bow my head to the memories of our brave soldiers who died in defence of liberty and democracy," Thieba told reporters. "I would like to make clear to the terrorists that nothing will shake the Burkinabe people."

Authorities said four gunmen were killed at army headquarters, where the assailants also detonated a car bomb, and four more were killed at the embassy. Two attackers were also captured on Friday.

Local residents were left to wonder how their country remained vulnerable to such attacks after a raid in January 2016 claimed by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and another last August by suspected militants killed a total of nearly 50 people.

"If the army headquarters is totally wiped out there is a problem," said Souleymane Traore, director of the newspaper Le Quotidien.

"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.

Government spokesman Remi Dandjinou told Reuters on Saturday that arrests had been made in connection with the attacks but it was unclear if he was referring to new arrests or the two that authorities had reported on Friday.

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