Monday 19 March 2018

Burkina restaurant attackers 'came from Mali': security source

Burkina restaurant attackers 'came from Mali': security source
(AFP 08/17/17)

Militants who shot and killed 18 people at a restaurant in Burkina Faso's capital most likely came from Mali, a security source in Ouagadougou told AFP on Wednesday.

"Looking at the tactics of the assailants, their physical traits, they probably came from northern Mali or closer to the border" with Burkina Faso, an army officer said on condition of anonymity.

Gunmen killed nine locals and nine foreigners as they dined on the terrace of a Turkish restaurant in Ouagadougou late Sunday.

The Burkinabe victims comprised seven men and two women: the foreigners were two Kuwaiti men, a Canadian woman, another Canadian woman with dual Algerian nationality, and one man each from France, Senegal, Nigeria, Turkey and Lebanon.

Another 22 people were injured in the attack.

No group has claimed responsibility but Burkina Faso has witnessed a string of such attacks blamed on Islamist extremists.

"The fact that the attack hasn't been claimed just suggests that it's an isolated act that could be linked to Ansarul Islam or AQIM," the officer said.

Ouagadougou prosecutor Faso Maiza Sereme has described the attackers as very young and made it clear that they went there ready to die.

Landlocked Burkina Faso shares a largely lawless border region with Mali, where jihadist fighters frequently ambush security forces.

The prosecutor Maiza Sereme has said Sunday's attack bore similarities to last year's assault on a hotel and cafe in the capital that killed 30 people and wounded more than 70.

That attack was claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Ansarul Islam is active in northern Burkina Faso and has claimed responsibility for several recent attacks, including one that killed 12 soldiers in December.

Security Minister Simon Compaore said all possibilities were being investigated.

"The inquiry could take a long time and we need to work with other countries," he said.

Even on Wednesday, the stores along the capital's main street, Kwame N'Krumah Avenue, have been slow to open.

"We were all afraid so we did not open on Monday," furniture store manager Rodrigue Kabore told AFP. "After what happened, the mood has been broken.

"We opened because we have to open, but we are still afraid," the 24-year-old said.

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