Gunmen attack a hotel in Burkina Faso

At least 30 people have been killed after gunmen attacked the Splendid Hotel in Burkina Faso after setting multiple vehicles on fire before storming the hotel and setting off an explosion in the café adjacent to the hotel.

More than 60 patrons were released from the hotel around five hours after four or five assailants began the terror attack. Communications minister Remis Dandjiou reported 33 of those individuals were wounded. Burkinabe security forces backed by the French military launched an assault.

Around 7:30 p.m., men stormed the hotel, opening fire on the patrons, and cars burned in front of the Splendid Hotel. The leaders of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb were quick to take responsibility for the attack.

“In a phone conversation with our brothers the immersers in Splendide Hotel in the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, the brothers asserted the fall of many dead Crusaders,” according to a transcript provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, including that the attack was, “revenge against France and the disbelieving West.”

Al Qaeda said the Splendid Hotel was targeted because it is a popular spot for tourists. The assault was meant to “to punish the Cross-worshipers for their crimes against our people in Central Africa, Mali and other lands of the Muslims, and to avenge our Prophet, God’s peace and blessings be upon him.”

The assailants were reported to be from the jihadist organization Al Mourabitoun, led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar. The group has aligned themselves with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

One survivor stated he managed to get away by escaping through a broken window. He stated, “People were lying on the ground and there was blood everywhere,” and the attackers were, “ shooting people at point-blank range.”

An American military member provided assistance along with the French military forces. Many of the French forces arrived overnight from Mali to provide support against the terror attack.

Just in November, Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for 19 individuals who were killed after gunmen burst into the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali and opened fire on crowds of individuals.

Located in West Africa, Burkina Faso is widely a Muslim country, but the French maintain a strong influence. Burkina Faso has worked and continues to work closely with France and the United States on counterterrorism in the area with the French providing a military presence in the region.

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