OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO Aug 13th, 2017. An upscale Turkish restaurant has come under attack today, Sunday, as heavy gunfire erupted in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou Minister of communication Remi Dandjinou and Police spokesman Capt. Guy Ye has confirmed. Customers were seen running out of the Turkish Aziz Istanbul restaurant, which is part of the hotel Bravia, as soldiers cordoned off the surroundings with armored vehicles as they launch an operation against suspected jihadists in Ouagadougou which has seen a surge in violence by Islamic extremists including al-Qaida and Ansarul Islam over the past few years.
The assailants were reportedly armed with automatic firearms. Witnesses said three armed men arrived in a four wheeler and opened fire on customers sitting outside the cafe. One person who was in the hotel at the time of the incident said there are several victims following the attack.
Last year, Islamic terrorists killed 30 people when they launched an overnight assault on the Splendid Hotel in the city which had been popular with UN staff and foreigners. The three attackers in the January 2016 massacre at a cafe in Ouagadougou were of foreign origin, according to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which claimed responsibility in the aftermath along with the jihadist group known as Al Mourabitoun. But the terror threat in Burkina Faso is increasingly homegrown, experts say.
Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists. The northern border region is now the home of a local preacher, Ibrahim Malam Dicko, who radicalized and has claimed recent deadly attacks against troops and civilians. His association, Ansarul Islam, is considered a terrorist group by Burkina Faso’s government and the United States Government.