OUAGADOUGOU: At least 18 people including eight or more foreigners were gunned down in a Turkish restaurant in Burkina Faso, officials said Monday, the latest west African attack to target a spot popular with expats.
There has been no claim of responsibility for Sunday night’s attack at the Aziz Istanbul restaurant, which was often packed with foreign nationals who went there to watch football.
Foreign minister Alpha Barry told AFP that the “terrorist” attack in the capital Ouagadougou killed seven locals and at least eight foreigners including one Frenchman; one Canadian woman; male victims from Senegal, Niger, Lebanon and Turkey; and two Kuwaiti women.
Three victims remain unidentified, he said.
Separately, Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said two Canadians were among the victims.
Turkey confirmed that one of its citizens was among the dead, while Paris prosecutors said at least one French national died.
Earlier in Ougadougou, Communications Minister Remis Dandjinou said about ten people had been injured, while security forces had killed two assailants in a counter-assault that went on until morning.
It was not clear how many gunmen were involved in the attack.
The security operation “has ended” but searches are continuing in buildings in the surrounding neighbourhood, Dandjinou told reporters.
He had said earlier that “some people were held” by the assailants and that “some were released”, but gave no further details.
“They started shooting on the terrace. We climbed up the stairs and lay on the ground. The attackers came and pointed their guns at us,” said one survivor, interviewed in hospital on national television.
A surgeon said the local hospital was “overwhelmed”.
The restaurant is just 200 metres (220 yards) from a hotel and cafe targeted in an assault in January 2016 that left 30 people dead and 71 wounded, many of them foreigners. That attack was claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
A government statement described the latest deadly shooting as a “terrorist attack”, while President Roch Marc Christian Kabore condemned it as “a despicable attack that has Ouagadougou in mourning”.
“The fight against terrorism is a long-term struggle,” he said on Twitter.
A police officer who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity cited witnesses as saying at least two assailants arrived on a motorcycle around 9:00 pm (2100 GMT) armed with Kalashnikovs, and opened fire.
A waiter also said he saw “three men arrive on a 4X4 vehicle around 9:30 pm, get off the vehicle and open fire on customers seated on the terrace”.—AFP