Authorities in Burkina Faso sealed off main roads in the nation’s capital after a series of attacks on Friday left 28 people dead and 56 injured, most of them foreigners, as they grappled with the aftermath of the coordinated strikes.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which claimed responsibility, was behind a similar assault on a hotel in Bamako, the capital of Mali, last month. In Ouagadougou, as in Bamako, the victims were a cosmopolitan collection from many countries.
Here in Ouagadougou, the victims had been grabbing a cold drink outside or staying at one of the capital’s few upscale hotels. In this city with a large aid worker presence, the attackers sought to shoot as many non-Muslims as possible, screaming Allahu akhbar (Arabic for God is great) as they entered.
President Roch Marc Kabore, came to power less than a month ago — on Dec. 29, 2015.
The hours-long drama saw Burkinabe troops, backed by French special forces, battle militants — including two women fighters — who stormed the four-star Splendid Hotel, which is popular with foreigners and United Nations staff, and took more than a hundred people hostage. Burkina Faso declared three days of national mourning following the attack, which mirrored another Al-Qaeda attack on a luxury hotel in neighbouring Mali where 20 people were killed, mostly foreigners.