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Terrorists Kill 18 in Burkina Faso Capital

Terrorists Kill 18 in Burkina Faso CapitalTerrorists Kill 18 in Burkina Faso Capital

Suspected militants killed at least 18 people and wounded several during a raid on a restaurant in Burkina Faso’s capital overnight, but security forces shot dead both attackers and freed people trapped inside the building.

“This is a terrorist attack,” Communications Minister Remi Dandjinou told a news conference on Monday, Reuters reported.

Burkina Faso, like other countries in West Africa, has been targeted sporadically by extremists groups. Most attacks have been along its remote northern border with Mali, which has seen activity by militants for more than a decade.

A Reuters witness saw customers running out of the Aziz Istanbul restaurant in central Ouagadougou as police and paramilitary gendarmerie surrounded it, amid gunfire.

A French citizen was among the dead, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the situation with Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Kabore, his office said, including the role of a new multinational military force aimed at fighting militants across the vast Sahel region of Africa.

For many it was a grim echo of a similar attack on a restaurant and hotel in Ouagadougou in January 2016 in which 30 people were killed. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility.

AQIM and related extremist groups were largely confined to the Sahara desert until they hijacked a rebellion by ethnic Tuareg separatists in Mali in 2012, and then swept south.

French forces intervened the following year to prevent them taking Mali’s capital, Bamako, but they have since gradually expanded their reach across the region, launching high-profile attacks in Bamako, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.

Macron’s office said he and Kabore agreed it was “imperative” to speed up the force’s implementation.

“They will have further contact with each other in the coming days, as well as with other regional heads of state over the progress of this plan,” it said in a statement.

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