Al-Qaeda affiliate claims deadly Burkina Faso attacks

Black smoke billows above downtown Ouagadougou. Ahmed Ouoba  AFP

The government said the attack on the military was a suicide auto bombing and that a planned meeting of 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.

Today saw further unrest when one person was shot dead after three people attempted to storm a roadblock in the early hours near the presidential compound, a government source told AFP. Four french military experts are expected later Sunday in Ouagadougou. That was a new toll after eight had been declared dead.

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore stated, "Our country was once again the target of dark forces". The violence began mid-morning when heavy gunfire broke out in the centre of the Burkinabe capital. According to witnesses, five men who are armed got out of the vehicle and opened fire on people passing by before they began to head towards the French Embassy.

The French Embassy came under attack around 10:15 a.m. Friday.

"Perhaps it was the target. In any case the room was literally destroyed by the explosion", the minister said.

"The Secretary-General renews his call for an urgent and concerted effort by the worldwide community in support of the countries in the region to tackle, in a holistic manner, the peace and security, development and humanitarian challenges affecting the Sahel, including through the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and the full operationalization of the G5 Sahel Joint Force", the statement concluded.

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It has already carried out operations against jihadist fighters with help from the French army.

French President Emmanuel Macron telephoned his Burkinabe counterpart Kabore to express solidarity and send his condolences to the families of the slain security force members, his office said.

The West, particularly France, considers Burkina Faso a key ally in the fight against al Qaeda in the region.

"Egypt supports the efforts of France and Sahel states in facing this phenomena that attacks security and stability worldwide", the statement added, condemning the attacks in the "strongest terms".

There has been an interim United Nations report by the AFP that has warned about the growing threat of jihadist him as ideology and the hottest terrorism.

Burkina Faso has a history of military-backed coups as well as jihadist attacks. The various insurgencies in the region have caused thousands of deaths in addition to making tens of thousands of people flee their homes.

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